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Korea must spread consensus to China to achieve national reunification

Korea must spread consensus to China to achieve national reunification

Posted July. 01, 2013 23:49,   


President Park Geun-hye returned Sunday from her first state visit to China. She held broad and in-depth talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping over South Korea-China relations and pending issues over the Korean Peninsula including North Korean nuclear development for seven and a half hours for two days. Park also met with Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, who are Nos. 2 and 3 in China’s power standings. In the wake of the Korea-China summit that followed the U.S.-China summit and the Korea-U.S. summit, coordination over North Korea policy of Korea, the U.S. and China has been concluded.

It is fair to say that momentum has been generated that could direct the situation on the Korean Peninsula to a phase of stability. Unlike China’s past leaders, President Xi invited President Park to China and held summit before North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Xi has thus demonstrated through act his commitment that China will not blindly endorse North Korea that conducts long-range missile and nuclear tests despite China’s objection. If Kim has abled eyes to view political situations around the North, he is advised to reflect upon the message from the South Korea-China summit.

“The most urgent task is to create a new Korean Peninsula” Park stressed in her Tsinghua University speech. Explaining the look of a new Korean Peninsula as a “situation where peace is settled, and members of people in South and North Korea freely travel each other, and contribute to establishing a stable and prosperous Asia,” adding, “If a New Korean Peninsula is created, it will also contribute to China’s prosperity, including the development of the three Northeast provinces.” Using her speech to university students in China, Park conveyed to the Chinese people that easing tension on the Korean Peninsula will serve China’s national interest. “A new Korean Peninsula” is a vision in consideration of peaceful reunification of the two Koreas. During a press conference, President Xi also said, “(China) supports independent and peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.” Spreading consensus on reunification of the two Korea to the Chinese leaders and people is more than anything a measure laying the foundation to achieve reunification.

The leaders of South Korea and China announced a “Joint statement of Korea-China future vision,” a blueprint that opens a new 20 years that goes beyond the Korea-China ties over the past 20 years. The joint statement encompasses constant communications between the presidents and establishment of a system for dialogue between their high-level officials. The leaders of Korea and China will work together over the next four years and eight months and establish bilateral relations, in which they will cooperate sometimes and go into conflict other times. As the two leaders have successfully completed their first meeting of greetings, they should lead bilateral relations of their countries by envisioning the future with a broad view and build up practical achievements.

Though the two leaders failed to form a written document, they agreed on unacceptability of North Korea’s nuclear weapon, which represents one of major achievements from Park’s China visit. China’s antipathy towards the North’s nuclear weapons was reaffirmed in Premier Li’s remarks that “We oppose North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons.” The future task is to coordinate the stance of China, which emphasizes early resumption of the six-way talks, and the stances of South Korea and the U.S., which stress dialogue that can bring about practical progress in the North’s denuclearization, based on their common understanding for unacceptability of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

President Park also proposed to China that South Korea will return the remains of 360 Chinese soldiers who died in the Korean War. Since this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Treaty, the repatriation of the remains is more timely and meaningful as well. If the remains of Chinese war dead are retuned, it could serve as a turning point for China to liquidate the unfortunate history of the past, and be reborn as an ally. Only when the South Korea-China relations strengthen, then can South Korea spearhead the efforts to address pending issues, including revival of the South Korea-China-Japan relations that have deteriorated due to Japan’s backpedaling over the past history.