Mat­tis: ‘Bumpy road’ to sum­mit

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By PAN MENGQI pan­mengqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

US De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis said the DPRK will re­ceive re­lief only af­ter it takes clear and ir­re­versible steps to end its nu­clear pro­gram, adding it would be a bumpy road to a sum­mit be­tween lead­ers of the United States and the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of Ko­rea.

Mat­tis made the re­marks on Sun­day at the 17 th Asia Se­cu­rity Sum­mit, com­monly known as the Shangri-La Di­a­logue, which opened in Sin­ga­pore on Fri­day.

“We can an­tic­i­pate, at best, a bumpy road to the ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Mat­tis said. “In this mo­ment we are stead­fastly com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing even fur­ther our de­fense co­op­er­a­tion as the best means for pre­serv­ing the peace.”

Plans are mov­ing for­ward as US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­firmed his meet­ing with DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un will be held on June 12 in Sin­ga­pore as orig­i­nally sched­uled. And Mat­tis re­peated the US po­si­tion that the DPRK will only re­ceive re­lief from UN na­tional se­cu­rity sanc­tions when it demon­strates “ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible steps” to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

Mat­tis’s re­mark shows that Wash­ing­ton’s at­ti­tude on the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion has never changed, which is dif­fer­ent from Py­ongyang’s un­der­stand­ing in the same is­sue, said Ruan Zongze, deputy head and se­nior fel­low at the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies.

Ruan said that to have an agree­ment on the con­cept of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion is still seen as a ma­jor ob­sta­cle for the two sides to reach a deal in the sum­mit.

On Fri­day, Trump met the vis­it­ing vice-chair­man of the DPRK’s Work­ers’ Party of Ko­rea Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Kim Yong-chol for two hours. Trump told re­porters at the White House that his meet­ing with Kim Jong-un is back on af­ter re­ceiv­ing a per­sonal let­ter from the DPRK leader.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing on Satur­day said that the Chi­nese side hopes and sup­ports the DPRK and the US in ac­tively push­ing for­ward prepa­ra­tions for the sum­mit, re­it­er­at­ing that the cur­rent si­t­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula is at a rare his­tor­i­cal junc­ture and the sum­mit is cru­cial to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and last­ing peace on the penin­sula.

The Re­pub­lic of Ko­rea’s pres­i­den­tial of­fice also wel­comed Trump’s de­ci­sion to re­vive the sum­mit.

The key thing is “to es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism that can main­tain the mo­men­tum of di­a­logue for a long run”, Ruan said. He said China had long urged di­rect di­a­logue be­tween the DPRK and US.

“What rel­e­vant par­ties are do­ing to ease ten­sions on the penin­sula is ac­tu­ally in line with China’s pro­pos­als”, Ruan said.

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