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Park`s China visit should secure cooperation with Beijing on N. Korea

Park`s China visit should secure cooperation with Beijing on N. Korea

Posted August. 28, 2015 07:11,   


President Park Geun-hye will attend China`s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The South Korean government has made the decision carefully while both respecting China`s invitation and considering the United States` negative view on her attendance at the events that would focus on China`s military rise. However, the U.S. Department of State said it would respect Seoul`s decision, addressing concerns over the possibility that Park`s China visit could cause a friction in the Seoul-Washington ties.

Seoul`s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said that the president had decided to attend China`s military parade in the hope that Beijing would contribute to the peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and in consideration of the history of Korea`s independence struggles. Considering economic cooperation with China, South Korea`s largest trading partner, and Beijing`s influence on Pyongyang, it is diplomatically helpful for President Park to accept China`s invitation. She will hold a summit with her Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on September 3 and attend a ceremony on September 4 in Shanghai marking the reopening of the former Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea building.

While the South Korean president will be at the events as a very important guest, Choe Ryong Hae, a secretary of North Korea`s ruling Workers` Party, will attend them, bring the "blood alliance" between Beijing and Pyongyang to shame. It is clearly North Korea`s diplomatic failure that Kim Jong Un has never met with the Chinese leader, while the South Korean president is about to have the sixth summit with Xi. Some people in China say that the Seoul-Beijing ties have already been closer that the Pyongyang-Beijing relationship. Seeing Park standing right next to Xi, 1.4 billion Chinese people will likely realize the close ties between Seoul and Beijing.

North Korea is preparing to hold large-scale celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Workers` Party founding on October 10. There is a possibility that the North will launch an intercontinental ballistic missile. If a launch would undermine the stability on the Korean Peninsula that China emphasizes. Seoul and Beijing should use the upcoming summit as an opportunity to curb Pyongyang`s provocative behavior.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama had a telephone summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for 40 minutes. Obama probably thanked Abe for having decided not to attend the events in China. Japan, which was defeated in World War II, might have found it embarrassing to attend China`s celebrations of its victory in the war. However, Obama, who takes as top priority the strengthening of its alliance against China`s diplomatic and military expansion, could conclude that Abe is making more sincere efforts for cooperation with Washington than Park. At any rate, Seoul`s expanded cooperation with Beijing should not end up hurting the Seoul-Washington alliance.

President Park`s upcoming China visit has more than the fact that she is nearly the only leader from a Western or pro-Western country to attend the military parade in China. She should secure solid cooperation with China on North Korea issues to make her visit an opportunity to settle peace on the peninsula.