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[Editorial] Pyongyang Should Take Note of the Agreement Between South Korea and China

[Editorial] Pyongyang Should Take Note of the Agreement Between South Korea and China

Posted July. 07, 2003 21:49,   


As a result of summit talks between South Korean President and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, South Korea finalized the process of fine-tuning opinions of its surrounding three powers including Japan, China, and the U.S. to solve the North Korean nuclear issue. Although slight differences in approach to ending the nuclear dispute among the four nations, they reaffirmed the principles during their summit meetings that North Korea`s possession of nuclear weapons could not be accepted and the issue should be peacefully addressed.

As the two leaders reaffirmed the principles previously produced by South Korea with the U.S. and Japan, all the concerned parties` resolve to end the nuclear dispute came to be further strengthened. In particular, the two leaders` summit meeting has significance in that China promised to play an active role in persuading the North to participate expanded multilateral talks including South Korea and Japan. If China, which, in fact, played a crucial role in the three-way talks held in Beijing involving the U.S., North Korea and China, plays a constructive and active role in persuading the North to accept five-way talks, the chances that such multilateral talks will take place has gained momentum. Although it is not clear about how Chinese President Hu has responded to the South Korean president`s request that China urge the North not to aggravate the security situation on the Korean Peninsula. In case China takes actions in a positive way, the mounting tensions caused by the North`s nuclear threat will be effectively eased.

It is time for Pyongyang to make a wise decision. North Korea should respect the principles established by the leaders of the four nations and make a proper response. In addition, the North Korean leadership should realize that the U.S. is not the only nation that tolerates North Korea`s possession of nuclear weapons.

If North Korea fails to meet the expectations of its neighboring nations, the situation will worsen. If North Korea doesn`t agree to end the nuclear dispute, the U.S. government`s insistence on a hard-line stance and the Japanese government`s “additional actions” or “tougher measures” against Pyongyang will be stepped up. In return, South Korea and China will face difficulties in continuously pursing the settlement of the nuclear dispute through a peaceful manner.

The two leaders also agreed to build their countries` diplomatic relations to that of a `comprehensive and cooperative partnership. The agreement can be applied to the North`s nuclear issue. If North Korea fails to meet the expectation of the two leaders, they should take proper follow-up measures against the North. We also hope that the upgrade of bilateral relations will bear additional fruit.