Parties must show sincerity to secure peace
Editor’s note: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Wednesday canceled a high-level meeting with the Republic of Korea because of the joint military drills between the United States and the Republic of Korea, and threatened to scrap the planned summit in June between US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un. Two experts shared their views on the development of the Peninsula issue with China Daily. Experts follow:
DPRK and US have different views on denuclearization
It would be historic achievement if the US and the DPRK still could make the first US-DPRK summit after the World War II. However, even from the initial proposal, the two have disagreed on several issues that have threatened to derail the meeting between Trump and Kim.
The two countries have different perceptions on the schedule for denuclearization. The DPRK has stated it is willing to denuclearize in phases, a process that actually commenced on April 21, with the halting of its nuclear and missile tests and shutting down of the Punggye-ri nuclear site. However, the US wants Pyongyang to completely dismantle all its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs immediately. US National Security Advisor John Bolton told Fox News on April 29 that the US is considering the Libya model for the DPRK's denuclearization. That is for Washington to lift sanctions, Pyongyang would have to completely renounce its nuclear weapons in one go.
Washington and Pyongyang both think they play the more significant role in the peace process. Washington regards the strict sanctions against Pyongyang as a great success, believing they led Pyongyang back to the negotiation table, as it realized nuclear weapons would not safeguard the DPRK’s security but only endanger it more. Pyongyang, meanwhile, insists that it took the initiative to break the ice for the peace talks, and attributing the progress to “maximum pressure” will be a big setback for the good momentum that has been achieved.
Furthermore, Pyongyang and Washington have different expectations of themselves and of each other. For Pyongyang, since it has shown remarkable sincerity, promising to dismantle the Punggye-ri test site between May 23 and 25, the US should reply to Pyongyang’s steps with equivalent moves, such as ending the nuclear umbrella it provides to the ROK. Pyongyang’s abrupt announcement that it had canceled a meeting with the ROK on Wednesday lies in its long-time fundamental desire for security. The routine military drills, despite the DPRK’s compromises, have no sign to ending.
The Trump administration wants to maintain the “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang to which great importance has been attached because it has been effective. Trump has reiterated the policy even as preparations for his the meeting with Kim have steadily advanced. He even made it a theme of his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 17.
All countries should make concrete efforts to pave way for sincere talks. As two important countries involved, the DPRK needs to take sustainable actions toward denuclearization, and the US should sincerely consider the DPRK’s reasonable security concerns. Meanwhile, China should continue close communication with both countries to promote the peace process.
Wang Junsheng, director and associate professor of the department of China’s Regional Strategy, National Institute of International Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
China has important role in peninsula peace process
The DPRK’s abrupt announcement shows that the Korean Peninsula situation is still uncertain. It is time the US reflected on its irresponsible unilateralism. The Trump administration’s withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal has convinced Pyongyang that the US cannot be trusted to keep its words.
The ROK’s recent efforts have enabled it to play a big role in Peninsula talks. But under the current situation the US and the ROK, and the DPRK need China to act as a bridge between them.
China has a legitimate interest in the peninsula situation. The Korean War ended decades ago but a peace agreement has still not been reached between the warring countries. The Korean Armistice Agreement signed 65 years ago, was a military cease-fire agreement signed by military commanders from China and the DPRK on one side, and the US-led United Nations Command on the other. Thus China is a party to peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Also China is a neighbor and key trade partner of both the DPRK and the ROK. It is the largest trade partner of the DPRK, accounting for about 90 percent of the DPRK’s trade, and China also is the largest supplier of fuel to the DPRK. China accounts for about one-fourth of the ROK’s trade.
According to reports, Seoul proposed trilateral talks with Pyongyang and Washington, while Pyongyang wanted to have China included. Although they share a strong will to restore peace independently, the two Koreas cannot exclude Washington because the superpower has a large number of troops on the Peninsula. But considering Seoul and Washington are allies, Pyongyang wants another country that is not a US ally to participate. China is a security partner of the DPRK and has long friendship with country, so it natural that it wants China to be involved.
The DPRK leader Kim Jong-un praised the advancement of the friendship between his country and China during his meeting with President Xi Jinping in Dalian on May 8, acknowledging China’s great contributions to promoting the peninsula peace process. With Xi reaffirming it will support the DPRK's development and continue to promote peace on the peninsula, China once again demonstrated its commitment to the peninsula's peace and stability. The US should show it is sincere about moving in the same direction.
Xie Guijuan, professor of international politics at Yanbian University