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People's Daily Online

Resuming DPRK talks depends on efforts from all parties: FM

People's Daily Online

(Global Times) 14:38, February 20, 2017

China cannot go it alone in trying to get Pyongyang back to the negotiating table over the nuclear issue, and while it can mediate, both Washington and Pyongyang should think about accommodating each other's positions, experts said.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said at the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Germany on Friday, in reference to the Korean Peninsula nuclear crisis, "there is still a chance of resuming negotiations; the hope for peace still exists."

Wang said that China will uphold the UN Security Council-led sanctions, but also stressed that all parties should not give up the fight to resume negotiations.

Since the Six-Party Talks were halted in 2009, the situation has been in a vicious circle with repeated "nuclear tests and sanctions," Wang said.

The Chinese foreign ministry said that Wang reiterated this message when he met with South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se on the sidelines of the Munich conference on Saturday.

The Six-Party Talks, involving China, DPRK, the U.S., South Korea, Russia and Japan, were a multilateral mechanism aimed at solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. The talks began in 2003 and stalled in December 2008, with Pyongyang quitting the process in 2009.

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that "Wang's statement shows China has the will and determination to solve the problem peacefully," adding that it is "also a response to the U.S."

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday urged China to "use all available tools" to moderate DPRK's behavior which will further destabilize regional peace after the latest missile test by Pyongyang, when he met Wang in Munich, Tillerson's spokesman Mark Toner said.

Since the U.S. urges China to use all available tools, China believes there is no tool better than multilateral negotiations, Jin said.

"Unlike the U.S., China doesn't have multiple choices for a solution. Apart from negotiations, the U.S. finds regime change, internal collapse and military strikes all acceptable, but China will not risk other measures which might bring military conflict, especially so close to our borders," Jin noted.

Need for compromise

"Subjectively, we can see there is the possibility of resuming the Six-Party Talks. New U.S. President Donald Trump wants to change his predecessor's policy [of strategic patience] and has the will to solve the problem, rather than simply ignore DPRK's desire," said Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

There will be a power shift in South Korea in mid-year, with hard-liners not so popular as before, Lü said.

"Pragmatic, dovish political groups and politicians are increasingly popular, such as Moon Jae-in, the Democratic United Party's candidate for president," he said.

Jin said he feels that the sanctions will be effective in making Pyongyang think twice about its behavior, especially the coal sanctions, which normally form about 20 percent of the country's exports to China.

From Sunday, China banned all imports of coal from DPRK.

As for Russia and Japan, their basic claims on the issue have not changed, and they will support a resumption in talks if other parties do, Lü said.

Any international response to the recent missile launch should be made jointly within the UN framework or the Six-Party Talks, and "unilateral actions" will only ratchet up the already high tensions, Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian upper house of parliament, was quoted by the RIA Novosti agency as saying on Sunday.

"Objectively, the resumption of Six-Party Talks is not very likely now. It needs cooperation and compromise from both the U.S. and DPRK," said Wang Junsheng, a research fellow on Korean studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "DPRK wants everyone to acknowledge it as a nuclear state, but the U.S. needs DPRK to abandon its nuclear program and won't guarantee not to use military options to solve the problem," he noted.

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