China, Japan and Russia -- members of the six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula -- are showing different views on the inter-Korean summit slated for April.
While China and Russia welcome the development, Japan appeared to be perplexed, expressing cautious doubt toward the communist regime.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement late Tuesday showing support for the decision to hold the top-level meeting, which would be the third of its kind. The first inter-Korean summit was held in 2000 and the second in 2007.
“We hope that the DPRK and the ROK can earnestly implement the relevant consensus and continue with their efforts to advance reconciliation and cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in the statement, using abbreviations of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.
“We hope that all relevant parties can seize the current opportunity, work for the shared goal and make concerted efforts to promote the process of denuclearization of the peninsula and politically resolving the Korean Peninsula issue.”
Traditionally the closest ally of North Korea, China also said it is “willing to continue to play its due role to this end.”
Russia also expressed support toward the decision made by the two Koreas and also welcomed the North opening up to denuclearization talks with the United States.
Leonid Eduardovich Slutsky, the deputy chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on International Affairs, reportedly said the inter-Korean agreement should “definitely” be supported and that it would ultimately pave the way to relieve tension on the Korean Peninsula.
According to Russian International News Agency, Slutsky also said the most important part is how the negotiation process is not interrupted by other states and should be led by the two Koreas, while North Korea should not make any provocative moves.
Japan, on the other hand, maintained that it would continue to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.
“We will not change our policy to maximize pressure on North Korea by any means to force it to commit to abandoning its nuclear and missile development in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and to taking concrete steps toward denuclearization,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, according to Japanese Kyodo News Agency.
Amid the growing conciliatory mood between the two Koreas that was initiated by the PyeongChang Olympic Games held in South Korea, Tokyo has warned against easing pressure on the reclusive regime. It also reiterated that the North’s change of attitude is due to international sanctions.
“North Korea is desperately trying to use ‘smile diplomacy’ because sanctions are taking effect,” Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said after a cabinet meeting early Tuesday.
Kono also said the North’s shift in stance is the result of international pressure and stressed that efforts from the three countries, Korea the United States and Japan, for the denuclearization of North Korea should remain unwavering.
Meanwhile, experts here stressed the role of the South Korean government.
“It is very important that National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service head Suh Hoon visit the neighboring countries to explain the plans. If the South-North summit and North-US dialogue are successful, the next step will need the cooperation of the multiple countries,” said Hong Min, director of the North Korean studies division at the Korea Institute for National Unification.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com