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Park should mediate between Chinese, U.S. leaders in NK nuclear solution

Park should mediate between Chinese, U.S. leaders in NK nuclear solution

Posted September. 01, 2015 06:52,   


Sydney Seiler, the U.S. special envoy for the six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea, has stepped down from his post. If Washington`s prediction that his position will be left vacant proves true, it can be viewed that U.S. President Barack Obama is no longer interested in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue during the rest of his term in office. South Korean President Park Geun-hye will visit China on Wednesday to request her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping`s cooperation in the North Korean nuclear issue and the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Even if so, it would be hard to expect further progress without Washington`s less active involvement.

In Tokyo on July 31, deputy chief nuclear negotiators from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan reconfirmed their commitment to making dialogue efforts while putting strong pressure on the North at the same time in order to make Pyongyang return to the negotiating table. The three allies also agreed to work together to send to the North a message that the international community would respond strongly if Pyongyang makes another provocation such as a long-range missile launch on October 10, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers` Party of North Korea. Seiler was the U.S. representative at the Tokyo meeting. It is necessary to delve into why the U.S. has dismissed him at this juncture.

The six-party talks have remained idle since December 2008. The talks are showing no momentum in dealing with signs of the North`s fourth nuclear test. Pyongyang has the biggest responsibility for the situation because it has breached previous agreements multiple times. However, Washington holds onto its position that as a precondition for the resumption of the six-nation talks, Pyongyang should show sincerity in denuclearization by postponing nuclear and missile tests and halting nuclear activities. China, for its part, calls for the unconditional resumption of the talks. Caught between such different positions of the two powers, South Korea has yet to find a solution.

President Park will have summit talks with the Chinese president in Beijing on Wednesday, before a summit with Obama in Washington on October 16. The summits will provide Seoul with good opportunities to listen to the U.S. and Chinese leaders` views and help narrow their differences. Park should play an active role in presenting a creative solution that would go beyond China`s suggestion of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. Whether her diplomacy with China will be successful also depends on how she would be able to find a solution to the North Korean nuclear issue.