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Peninsula one step closer to peace

China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-26 07:24
A general view shows the interior of the Peace House, the venue for Moon-Kim summit, at Panmunjom, April 25, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Editor's note: The summit between the leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea on Friday will be the first in 11 years, and many hope it will be a big step toward realizing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Two experts share their views with China Daily's Pan Yixuan. Excerpts follow:

Summit promotes denuclearization

The forthcoming meeting between DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and ROK President Moon Jae-in is expected to promote communication between the two sides and enable the families separated by the Korean War to meet, which will help advance efforts to secure permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. The summit is also expected to prepare the ground for the proposed summit between the US and DPRK leaders in late May or early June.

Since January, Pyongyang and Seoul have been sincerely seeking progress in the peace process. They have not only agreed to resume inter-Korean talks, but also made efforts to organize a summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim.

But the United States administration has said that the DPRK should dismantle its nuclear arsenal to get sanctions relief from Washington, and Pyongyang seeks phased denuclearization and sanctions relief after the completion of each phase. These different viewpoints are likely to be the major talking points at any US-DPRK summit.

On Saturday, Pyongyang announced that it would close all its nuclear sites and suspend longrange missile tests. The announcement has been hailed as an important move to establish a good atmosphere for the planned Kim-Trump summit. Although Washington acknowledges the positive effects of Pyongyang's announcement and the secret visit of Mike Pompeo, CIA chief and to-be secretary of state, to the DPRK to hold talks with Kim, it has not ceased to exert military pressure to resolve the peninsula issue.

Since it's an ally of the US, the ROK therefore should play a more proactive role, encouraging Washington to make sincere efforts to remove Pyongyang's security concerns by stopping the US-ROK joint military drills and signing a peace treaty with the DPRK. By so doing, Seoul, along with Pyongyang, could prepare the ground for a successful US-DPRK summit.

Hu Mingyuan, a researcher at Northeast Asia Studies Institute, Jilin Academy of Social Sciences

Peninsula moves toward peace

The DPRK and the ROK held talks in 2000 and 2007, which both eased tensions on the peninsula, although not for long. Still, the ROK-DPRK summit on April 27 is expected to promote lasting peace on the peninsula, by building the foundation for a concrete peace treaty.

For Pyongyang and Washington, the goals of denuclearization are different. But by sending the secretary of state nominee, Mike Pompeo, to hold talks with Kim early this month, the US administration has demonstrated its sincerity in seeking to restore peace on the peninsula and, by default, Northeast Asia. Many believe the DPRK announced a halt to nuclear and missile tests on Saturday because of Pompeo's talks with Kim.

China and Russia have been actively supporting the peace process, as only a peaceful peninsula can promote Northeast Asia's overall development.

Before announcing a halt to nuclear and missile tests, Kim visited China on March 25-27, and the ROK and Russian foreign ministers held discussions on April 10. Such multilateral contributions have not only helped promote the peace process on the Korean Peninsula but also created an conducive atmosphere for the ROK-DPRK summit to yield positive results, including a framework for a friendly and sustainable inter-Korean relationship.

If the DPRK-ROK summit goes well, as many expect it to, it will also help build trust between Pyongyang and Washington, paving the way for a successful US-DPRK summit.

The ROK-DPRK summit can help ease tensions, but for permanent peace in the region, Pyongyang and Washington have to find a peaceful and sustainable way to denuclearize the peninsula and end the sanctions against Pyongyang.

We hope the ROK-DPRK summit meeting is successful, so that Northeast Asia can move forward on the path to sustainable economic development.

Liu Xuelian, head of the Institute of Northeast Asian Geopolitics and Economics, Jilin University

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