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S. Korea-China-Japan Summit depends on Abe`s attitude

Posted March. 23, 2015 07:19,   


South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida released a joint statement on Saturday, which had not been issued due to disagreement among three Northeast Asian nations during the past five years, at the seventh trilateral foreign ministers` meeting in Seoul. The meeting holds great significance as the three nations’ foreign ministers gathered together in three years after April 2012 and restored strained cooperative relations. The issued joint statement stated, “Based on the result of ministerial meeting, the foreign ministers had agreed to set up a trilateral summit of their countries` leaders, as soon as it becomes convenient.” If the South Korea-China-Japan Summit is held this year that marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the summit would provide a positive momentum for the three nations to put an end to the historical disputes and to search for joint prosperity and peace in the Northeast Asia.

At this foreign ministerial meeting, Japan hoped to convene the tripartite summit at an early date. But China pointed out historical disputes with Japan and emphasized creation of the atmosphere to hold a summit. On the issue of the trilateral leadership summit, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang said, “There is no schedule so far. We have to create the necessary conditions for that.” The necessary condition for the three-way summit talks is how sincere and apologetic expressions will be contained in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s address at the U.S. Congress in April and the statement in commemoration of the 70h anniversary of the World War II. Diplomatic rhetoric to save Japan’s face in front of the international community, which lacks of sincere apology, would not be any help to development of relationships among the three nations.

On the issue of North Korea’s nuclear program, the foreign ministers announced that they reassure the stance to firmly oppose the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.” Since the beginning of the annual trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting in 2007, this is the first time for three nations to put a mutual recognition on the North Korea’s nuclear program in the joint statement, which is an advancement in its way. However, it is disappointing that the joint statement failed to clearly specify "North Korea’s nuclear weapons" on the Korean Peninsula.

Under the excuse not to provoke North Korea, China has been using the term "denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula" in various meetings to address the North’s nuclear program. Even in the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement by the six-party talks to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issue, the term "denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula" was used. However, as South Korea has never pursued nuclear development after the Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization in 1992, continuous use of the term by China is interpreted as an intention to contain South Korea’s potential nuclear capability development and strategic nuclear deployment by the U.S. forces in South Korea. Such terms may dilute the severity of the North Korean nuclear issues.

The three Northeast Asian nations account for one quarter of the gross world product and exert great influence over the international society. Suspension of the trilateral leadership summit since May 2012 has been a loss for the tree nations all. South Korean foreign ministry must provide support to hold a summit where three nations’ leadership meet together.