Xi meets North Korea FM, hails peace plan

Trade war won’t in­flu­ence the Korean Penin­sula con­sen­sus: ex­perts

Global Times - Weekend - - NATION - By Xie Went­ing

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met with North Korean For­eign Minister Ri Yong-ho in Bei­jing on Fri­day, and called for more ef­forts to ad­vance the longterm, healthy and steady de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

China sup­ports North Korea in seek­ing de­vel­op­ment routes that suit the coun­try un­der the lead­er­ship of Kim Jong-un. 2019 marks the 70th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween China and North Korea, and the two sides should take the op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote healthy and sta­ble bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, Xi said.

Lü Chao, a re­search fel­low at the Liaon­ing Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences, told the Global Times that more and di­verse co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and North Korea can be ex­pected in 2019. “North Korea wants to fo­cus on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the fu­ture, which China fully sup­ports and can of­fer use­ful lessons. Good co­op­er­a­tion with China could fa­cil­i­tate the fast de­vel­op­ment of North Korea,” said Lü.

Xi also said at the meet­ing with Ri that the Korean Penin­sula is­sue has re­turned to the right track to­ward po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment this year. He hoped North Korea and the US can meet each other half­way and ad­dress each other’s rea­son­able con­cerns.

Ri’s visit comes af­ter Xi met with US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at the G20 sum­mit, dur­ing which the two sides agreed to main­tain com­mu­ni­ca­tion on the Korean Penin­sula is­sue.

Lü said the tim­ing of the for­eign minister’s visit re­flects that North Korea thinks it’s nec­es­sary to con­duct “strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tion” with China to bet­ter push for the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the penin­sula and learn about the con­sen­sus reached at the meet­ing.

De­spite the con­tin­ued progress of the Korean Penin­sula is­sue, ex­perts said that un­cer­tain­ties in the US side will some­how in­crease chal­lenges.

Lü said that the eas­ing of ten­sions on the Korean Penin­sula won’t be re­versed, which is the con­sen­sus of most peo­ple, even when the peace and de­nu­cle­ariza­tion process meets some ob­sta­cles.

“The US keeps press­ing North Korea which leads to some back­lash from North Korea. The ex­ces­sive pres­sure the US has put on North Korea is un­rea­son­able. Af­ter North Korea made some ef­forts, the US should show some kind­ness, like lift­ing some sanc­tions,” Lü said.

Zhang Huizhi, vice dean of the North­east Asian Stud­ies Col­lege at Jilin Univer­sity, said “North Korea is clear in push­ing for­ward de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. In con­trast, the US still har­bors some un­cer­tain­ties. It still uses the joint mil­i­tary drill [with South Korea] to test North Korea.”

Ri also met with Chi­nese State Coun­cilor and For­eign Minister Wang Yi on Fri­day. Dur­ing the meet­ing with Wang, Ri said that he hoped North Korea and the US can build mu­tual trust. Ri highly ap­pre­ci­ated China’s ef­fort in solv­ing is­sues on the penin­sula, a state­ment by China’s for­eign min­istry said.

There are con­cerns the ar­rest of Huawei se­nior ex­ec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou, in Canada at the re­quest of the US, may also cast a shadow over the con­sen­sus reached on the Korean Penin­sula by China and the US, but both Lü and Zhang said it won’t stop the peace process.

Lü stressed that China never linked the trade war with the US and the Korean Penin­sula is­sue to­gether. “But if some peo­ple in the US think of us­ing the trade war to press China on the Korean Penin­sula is­sue, it will only make the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion more com­pli­cated and ob­struct the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion process,” he said. He added that China and the US have more room to co­op­er­ate in ad­dress­ing the Korean Penin­sula is­sue.

CNN re­ported on Mon­day that Trump said he ex­pected a sec­ond meet­ing with Kim in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary. Zhang said that the meet­ing will very likely hap­pen.

She pre­dicts that there will be an agree­ment reached at the meet­ing, which will be ben­e­fi­cial for the Korean Penin­sula.

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