Penin­sula should end vi­cious cy­cle of ten­sions

Global Times - Weekend - - OPINION -

Kim Jong-un, chair­man of the Work­ers’ Party of Korea and chair­man of the State Af­fairs Com­mis­sion of the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea, left Bei­jing for Py­ongyang on Wed­nes­day after a three-day visit, his fourth to China since March last year. This year marks the 70th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of China-North Korea diplo­matic re­la­tions. The close high-level con­tacts be­tween the two coun­tries mean that China-North Korea re­la­tions are not only mov­ing along the orig­i­nal path, but have be­gun to up­grade.

Around this time last year, de­spite a dé­tente be­tween North and South Korea, the sit­u­a­tion re­mained grim. But with a string of diplo­matic break­throughs, such as Kim’s China vis­its and the North Korea-US sum­mit, hope has risen and peo­ple have be­gun to be­lieve peace on the Penin­sula is not merely a dream.

The past year wit­nessed sig­nif­i­cant progress in North Korea’s ties with China, the US and South Korea. Sta­bil­ity on the Penin­sula has made all par­ties full of ex­pec­ta­tions for fu­ture peace and no one is will­ing to go back to the ten­sions of the past. This is an im­por­tant fac­tor in judg­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion on the Penin­sula.

The year 2019 is cru­cial for the Penin­sula’s sta­bil­ity and peace. Kim’s lat­est visit to China has cre­ated a fa­vor­able at­mos­phere and con­di­tions for con­tin­ued im­prove­ment of the sit­u­a­tion on the Penin­sula. All par­ties need to con­sol­i­date the achieve­ments and move for­ward to se­cure new break­throughs.

De­spite a turn­around in the sit­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula, re­la­tions be­tween Py­ongyang and Wash­ing­ton haven’t been plain sail­ing. But in gen­eral ten­sions have eased. The US should take a more cau­tious and re­spon­si­ble ap­proach to deal with North Korea, de­sist­ing from ze­ro­sum think­ing that causes mis­un­der­stand­ing.

The dé­tente on the Penin­sula hasn’t come eas­ily and should be cher­ished by all sides. They should make joint ef­forts to pro­mote peace on the Penin­sula. In spite of their self-in­ter­est, all par­ties have com­mon in­ter­ests and a com­mon desire to pro­mote de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the Korean Penin­sula. They should give pri­macy to the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple on the Penin­sula and in the sur­round­ing ar­eas. Any party that puts its own in­ter­ests first may dam­age the out­come.

In the past, the Penin­sula had been locked in a cy­cle of ne­go­ti­a­tions and ten­sions. Whether it can break out of the cy­cle de­pends on all par­ties. If all par­ties can help move the sit­u­a­tion in a pos­i­tive di­rec­tion, the Penin­sula is very likely to rid it­self of the past cy­cle and usher in a new era of sta­bil­ity.

Prior to Kim’s visit this time, it was re­ported that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was seek­ing a se­cond meet­ing with the North Korean leader. Kim’s lat­est China visit has brought hope for a ma­jor diplo­matic break­through this year.

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