Trans­la­tion key in Park-Xi talks

Of­fi­cials to in­ter­pret simultaneously due to com­plex­ity of agenda

JoongAng Daily - - Front Page - BY SEO JI-EUN spring@joongang.co.kr

BEIJING — Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping will use in­ter­preters simultaneously dur­ing their 30-minute meet­ing, break­ing away from us­ing con­sec­u­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tion, a Korean diplo­matic source told the JoongAng Ilbo yes­ter­day.

“There are so many is­sues to be dis­cussed dur­ing the limited 30 min­utes the two lead­ers have for the sum­mit. [Those is­sues in­clude] the Kore­aChina free trade agree­ment,” said the source, one of the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials pre­par­ing for the talks. “The decision for a meet­ing based on si­mul­ta­ne­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tion was made for the sake of sav­ing time.”

This is the first time si­mul­ta­ne­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tion will be used in a bi­lat­eral sum­mit, although the method is of­ten em­ployed in mul­ti­lat­eral sum­mits. Nor­mally, the lead­ers en­gaged in a bi­lat­eral sum­mit use con­sec­u­tive in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Whereas state lead­ers are gen­er­ally given some time to pre­pare their next re­marks un­der the con­sec­u­tive-in­ter­pre­ta­tion sys­tem, the si­mul­ta­ne­ous­in­ter­pre­ta­tion sys­tem re­quires almost im­me­di­ate ques­tions and re­sponses.

Pres­i­dent Park ar­rived in Beijing yes­ter­day for the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) meet­ing, which kicks off her nine-day mul­ti­lat­eral diplo­matic itin­er­ary across the re­gion. The one-on-one meet­ing with the Chi­nese pres­i­dent is her first ap­point­ment in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal. Korea is one of 16 coun­tries gath­ered in Beijing for the an­nual mul­ti­lat­eral meet­ing.

The Park-Xi meet­ing, the fifth since the Korean pres­i­dent took of­fice in Fe­bru­ary 2013, looks like it will pre­cede talks be­tween the Chi­nese leader and his Ja­panese coun­ter­part Shinzo Abe, which is most likely to take place on the side­lines of the APEC sum­mit. It is an­tic­i­pated that the meet­ing be­tween Xi and Abe will thaw more than two years of strained re­la­tions be­tween China and Ja­pan.

The pos­si­bil­ity of a Xi-Abe meet­ing gained mo­men­tum after China and Ja­pan reached an agree­ment on Fri­day to boost high-level bi­lat­eral con­tact more than two years after Beijing froze ties amid a ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute over is­lands in the East China Sea and Ja­pan’s his­tory of wartime ag­gres­sion.

Sep­a­rately, Pres­i­dent Park is ex­pected to sit down for a talk with U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to­mor­row in Beijing, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial. “We are still co­or­di­nat­ing the venue and the type of sum­mit,” he said. “The pres­i­dent will likely meet Obama on Tues­day.”

Cur­rent plans have bi­lat­eral sum­mits sched­uled this week be­tween Korea and China, Korea and the United States and China and the United States, one right after the other.

How­ever, Park has no plans yet to hold talks with Abe, said Ju Chul-ki, the se­nior pres­i­den­tial sec­re­tary for for­eign af­fairs and na­tional se­cu­rity.

In ad­di­tion, Park will have bi­lat­eral sum­mits with the lead­ers of Aus­tralia, In­dia, New Zealand and Saudi Ara­bia on the side­lines of the APEC con­fer­ence. The East Asia Sum­mit and the ASEAN+3 meet­ing will take place Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day in Myan­mar. The G-20 sum­mit will be held on Satur­day and Sun­day in Aus­tralia.

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