[EDITORIALS]A push for U.S.-North ties

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[EDITORIALS]A push for U.S.-North ties

The meeting in Beijing on Monday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin has laid out a framework to solve North Korea's nuclear development issue. In a joint declaration, the two leaders urged Pyeongyang to drop its nuclear weapons program. In addition, they emphasized the "extreme importance" of normalization of ties between the United States and North Korea under the 1994 "Agreed Framework," in which Pyeongyang promised to scrap plans to develop nuclear weapons in return for light-water nuclear reactors and fuel oil.

The declaration of a common understanding by the leaders of the two countries, which both have interests on the Korean Peninsula, came out at a time when both Pyeongyang and Washington refuse to yield an inch over the nuclear issue.

The Russian-Chinese statement is also based on the understanding that it is essential for the future of the world and peace and stability to stop the proliferation of mass-destruction weapons and ensure a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

The United States wants the North to give up nuclear development first before ties could be improved, while Pyeongyang is obsessed about signing a nonaggression pact with America. The two countries are on a collision course, so the declaration deserves credit for offering them a good way of seeking a peaceful solution of the situation.

The United States views the Beijing summit as a product of diplomatic convenience by both China and Russia because they cannot afford to hurt their relationships with Washington. But the two leaders have also offered Washington a new solution: negotiations and compromise.

The message to Pyeongyang is clear: Even its closest allies do not want to see a nuclear-armed North Korea. There is also a message to Washington: It should seek peaceful resolution of the situation.

Now, North Korea has to answer; its nuclear program started the problem. Then, the North can reap the benefits of better relations with the United States.
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