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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid