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Trilateral Summit Shows Subtle Differences Over NK Nukes

Trilateral Summit Shows Subtle Differences Over NK Nukes

Posted October. 12, 2009 07:03,   


The leaders of South Korea, China and Japan have agreed to seek early resumption of the six-party nuclear talks, but show subtle differences on how to achieve this goal.

On the trilateral summit in Beijing over the weekend, experts said the different colors of the three leaders’ neckties reflect their differing ideas on how to persuade North Korea to get rid of its nuclear program.

President Lee Myung-bak told a joint news conference, “I explained my grand bargain proposal and will continue to consult with parties to the six-way talks on ways to promote the proposal.”

“I hope North Korea will show interest in my proposal. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il might have positively responded had he joined (this meeting).”

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao apparently stressed the need for bilateral talks though he emphasized the importance of the six-party talks, saying “China will resume and take the lead in the six-party talks.”

In briefing President Lee and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on his talks with Kim in Pyongyang last week, Wen said, “North Korea said it hopes to resolve the nuclear issue through bilateral and multilateral channels. The six-party talks and bilateral contact don’t contradict each other.”

Whenever tension arose over the nuclear issue, China eased it through bilateral talks with North Korea. By doing so, Beijing reaffirmed its diplomatic influence to the international community.

Wen did not mention the grand bargain proposal at the news conference, but said in a one-on-one meeting with President Lee, “I highly appreciate South Korea’s commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the six-party talks. I will also actively discuss President Lee’s package deal to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue with an open mind.”

For Japan, Hatoyama said, “I hope the six-party talks will produce results and North Korea will take concrete action.”

As he did in his summit with President Lee the previous day, Hatoyama showed his support for the grand bargain proposal by saying, “President Lee and I agreed to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue in a comprehensive way and President Lee’s package proposal is meaningful in this regard.”

Hatoyama, however, said the package deal should include resolving North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 80s.

Separately, the three leaders said in a joint statement that the trilateral summit, which began in 1999, has contributed to peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia. They also agreed to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation in the coming decade.

The summit was the second to be held in one of the three countries after the first in Fukuoka, Japan, in December last year. Seoul will host next year’s summit.