The Meaning of NK-China Summit Meeting

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The Meaning of NK-China Summit Meeting

The report that North Korea's General Secretary Kim Jong-il has visited China in strict secrecy and had a meeting with the President Jiang Zemin is drawing a lot of interest from all over the world. Neither China nor North Korea is providing any kind of official confirmation on the NK-China summit meeting, but the report would appear to be true when the whole situation is considered.

It is obvious that this rumour would attract such an unusual amount of attention for the summit meeting’s timing was very critical. It was held in the period when a new order is being born in the sphere of Northeast Asia and right before the Inter-Korean summit meeting. Eyes and ears have turned to finding out what kind of subjects were discussed in the first meeting in 13 years between Kim Jong-il and the President of China and what kind of relationship does this discussion have with the Inter-Korean summit meeting.

China's foremost concern right now would probably be the new global strategy of the United States. Recently the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States presented the 'Joint Vision 2000' report which says that the global strategy of the U.S. is shifting from Europe towards Asia and that China is considered to be the United States‘ main competitor. Consequently, the U.S. is drawing emphasis to the role U.S. Forces play in South Korea and Japan to 'surround' China.

The U.S. has already accepted Japan's ’Guide Line‘ legislation that expands Japan's self-defense area to East Asia and is also promoting the building of the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) with Japan, pointing to North Korean missiles. Therefore, it is possible that China requested that NK stop its manufacturing of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) such as nuclear bombs, chemical weapons, and missiles. This would be done because any negative moves by NK may act to stimulate the U.S. which could in turn make them push for NK's progressive open-policy and adversely effect China‘s new role in the world.

As for North Korea, which is looking at the upcoming summit meeting, it is likely to have requested a guarantee for a coexistent relationship with China similar to the 'one country, two policies' system between China and Taiwan. NK could also have asked for China's economical and diplomatic support during the process of coming nearer to an open policy.

All these factors could lead to the anticipation of a new kind of cold war between South Korea, which is inside the U.S. and Japanese spheres of influence, and North Korea, which is inside China's sphere of influence. A hint of a change in the power structure of Asia can be sensed in the fact that the U.S. and Japan have repeatedly asked that the South bring up the TMD issue in the Inter-Korean summit meeting. Therefore, a NK-Chinese summit meeting may be looked at for both positive and negative effects. If the meeting was based on an open-policy for NK, then the meeting would have a more positive effect.

At this time, the government needs to rethink the meaning of the Inter-Korean summit meeting. In other words, the South and North should show the ability to independently solve the problems on the Korean Peninsula before a new cold war breaks out and approach the problems which affect the whole of Northeast Asia with a broader and more strategical view so it can be looked at as 'our own problem' before Korea becomes the linchpin for Asia that everyone wants.

by Jong Kyong-min

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