News / Asia

Seoul, Beijing Agree on Denuclearized Korean Peninsula

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Great Hall of the People, Beijing, June 27, 2013.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Great Hall of the People, Beijing, June 27, 2013.
VOA News
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, agreed at a summit in Beijing Thursday to push for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
 
The South Korean leader arrived in Beijing Thursday for talks likely to be dominated by Pyongyang's nuclear program.
 
In a statement, Park said the two nations shared a common view on "denuclearizing North Korea, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and resolving issues through dialogue and negotiations."
 
The visit marks the first formal discussions between the two leaders since both assumed power in their respective countries.
 
Wang Junsheng, research fellow at the National Institute of International Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says that the summit provides China with an opportunity to show its appreciation for how Park's new administration has handled the issue of North Korea.
 
“During the recent crisis in the peninsula, South Korea has used restraint and reason in dealing with North Korea,” said Wang. “That is something that China appreciates.”
 
China, North Korea's most important ally and economic benefactor, has showed increasing frustration at Pyongyang's decision to go ahead with nuclear and missile tests, despite explicit restrictions imposed by the United Nations.
 
In response to Pyongyang's defying actions, China has backed U.N. sanctions against its northern neighbor and joined bilateral efforts with the United States to suspend all transactions with North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank.
 
Before leaving Seoul, Park said this summit is an attempt to “harden” the two countries' persuasive efforts to convince North Korea to denuclearize.
 
Dong Xiangrong, a researcher of Korean studies at the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Science says that China and South Korea share a “common aversion,” and that sentiment is informing their discussion over North Korea.
 
“China and South Korea are the countries that would suffer the most should there be a conflict in the peninsula or should North Korea develop nuclear weapons,” she said, “They both need to avoid conflict in the region, as well as a nuclear North Korea.”
 
But analysts say that differences between the two countries' positions might make it harder to finalize a common strategy.
 
“If we look at the official Chinese documents on denuclearization, what they mean is a denuclearization of the complete peninsula, not just North Korea,” she said, adding that, contrarily, South Korea is solely interested in preventing the North from developing nuclear weapons.
 
Another issue, Dong said, is unification.
 
“Both China and South Korea are trying to avoid war in the peninsula,” she said. “But China is deeply interested in preventing the collapse of the North, while South Korea will take every chance to put forth reunification.”
 
South Korea's alliance with the United States might also contribute to mistrust between the two Asian nations, analysts say.
 
“If the alliance between South Korea and the United States is excessively strengthened then China might feel like the alliance is targeting China itself,” said  Wang. “That would not be beneficial to peace and stability in the peninsula.”
 
A big entourage of 71 business leaders is accompanying Park's three day visit to China, underscoring the important role China plays in the South's economy.
 
Trade between the two countries has grown more than 30 times since 1992, when Beijing and Seoul established diplomatic relations, and is now worth around USD 200 billion a year.
 
The South Korean leader's visit comes as the two countries are engaged in free trade talks, with the sixth meeting scheduled next month in South Korea.
 
Wang said the push for trade agreements between Asian countries is partly a by-product of the economic situation in the West.
 
“In the short term, it is difficult for us to see a momentum of development in the economies of the United States and Europe,” he said. “South Korea especially attaches importance to China's economy.”
 
With free trade agreements, Wang said, the two economies can develop together and complement each other.
 
Park, a self-taught Mandarin speaker, has talked in the past about her interest in Chinese culture.
 
She is scheduled to give a lecture at a university in Beijing and will deliver part of her speech in Chinese.
 
Park will also visit the Northwestern city of Xi'an, where South Korean electric giant Samsung is investing $7 billion to build a high-tech factory.
 
Xi'an is also one of China's most ancient capitals.
 
Dong Xiangrong said that while the former South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, was all business when dealing with China, Park is emphasizing culture as a way to connect with both China's leaders and the Chinese people.
 
“The fact that she is visiting Xi'an might have included considerations that China and South Korea's cultures are similar,” she said. “It brings the two countries together with a sense of familiarity.”
 
Before reaching Xi'an, the South Korean leader is scheduled to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Friday in Beijing.
 
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid