Before meeting Obama, Hu positive on peninsula

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Before meeting Obama, Hu positive on peninsula


Hu Jintao

Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Sunday that lowered tensions on the Korean Peninsula should provide momentum for resuming multination talks engaging North Korea.

“Thanks to joint efforts by China and other parties, there have been signs of relaxation,” said Hu in written answers for a joint interview with the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

“We hope that the relevant parties will seize the opportunity to engage in active interactions, resume the process of dialogue and consultation as soon as possible, and ensure that the situation on the peninsula will move forward in a positive direction.”

Analysts in Korea said Hu’s tone suggests he and U.S. President Barack Obama may come to a symbolic but insubstantial agreement on Korean issues when they meet in Washington on Wednesday.

Seoul yesterday responded to the interview with a reiterated call for Pyongyang to show more sincerity about issues like its attacks on South Korea, with Seoul’s top national security adviser saying there will be no inter-Korean talks without the North showing a new attitude.

Hu will make a four-day visit to the U.S. beginning today in what is seen as an attempt to bolster his legacy before a scheduled change in the Chinese leadership next year. Whether his meeting with Obama tomorrow will produce any tangible accomplishment is doubted by analysts in Korea because of the differences between China and the U.S. on various issues, including North Korea.

“Many questions as to how to deal with North Korea will remain unanswered after the summit,” said Moon Chung-in, a professor at Yonsei University.

China, the North’s closest ally, has refused to reprimand the North for its recent attacks on the South and has urged a resumption of the six-party talks on the North’s denuclearization as a way to end heightened tensions on the peninsula.

On Sunday, North Korea repeated its appeals for direct talks with the South through the state-controlled Rodong Sinmun.

“I am convinced that as long as the parties respect each other, engage in consultation on an equal footing, and implement the September 19 Joint Statement in a comprehensive and balanced way through the six-party talks, they will arrive at an appropriate solution to the Korean nuclear issue and contribute to lasting peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” Hu said in the interview.

Chun Yung-woo, senior secretary to the president for foreign affairs and national security, said in an interview with PBS Sunday that the South will not agree to inter-Korean talks “until Pyongyang owns up to what it did last year and expresses regret.”

He was referring to the North’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November and the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March, which Pyongyang denies being behind. The South also wants a new North Korean promise to give up its nuclear weapons. The North disclosed to the world a uranium enrichment facility in November, which could give it a second route to make nuclear bombs.

Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it’s taking Hu’s remarks as an indirect prompt to the North to show sincerity.

“Our goal is not the resumption of [six-party] talks per se,” Kim Young-sun, the ministry’s spokesman, told a regular media briefing yesterday. “Given that the goal of the talks is to have substantial progress in denuclearizing North Korea through better coordination among the relevant countries, creating favorable conditions for the talks is important,” he said.

Kim said Seoul hopes that concrete methods of getting North Korea to show sincerity will be discussed when Hu and Obama meet.

“We expect the Chinese government ... to play a responsible role for the peace and stability of the region,” Kim said.

By Moon Gwang-lip []

Related Korean Article [중앙일보]

후진타오 “중국과 미국, 냉전시대 제로섬 사고 버리고 윈윈 추구해야”
WP·WSJ와 서면 인터뷰

“6자회담을 통해 북한 핵 문제를 해결해야 하며 한반도의 통일은 독립적이고 평화적으로 이뤄져야 한다.”

후진타오(胡錦濤·호금도) 중국 국가주석이 북한 핵개발 등 한반도 문제 해결을 위해 이 같은 해법을 제시했다. 19일 미국 워싱턴 백악관에서 열릴 버락 오바마(Barack Obama) 미국 대통령과의 정상회담을 앞두고 워싱턴 포스트(WP) 및 월스트리트 저널(WSJ)과의 공동 서면 인터뷰를 하면서다. 후 주석은 미국과의 관계 강화를 위해 “냉전시대의 제로섬(zero-sum)식 사고를 버리고 윈윈(win-win)을 추구해야 한다”고 강조했다. 달러화의 역할에 대해서는 “현 국제통화 시스템은 역사적으로 만들어진 것이다. 위안화가 이 역할을 맡기에는 상당한 시간이 걸릴 것”이라고 말했다. 그는 이번 인터뷰에서 노벨 평화상 수상자인 류샤오보(劉曉波·류효파)와 중국의 해군력 증강 등과 관련된 질문에는 답하지 않았다. 다음은 일문일답.

- 한반도의 긴장이 크게 고조됐는데.

“중국은 관련국들과 함께 한반도의 평화와 안정을 유지하기 위해 부단한 노력을 기울여왔다. 우리는 남북한에 평화와 안정을 해치는 어떠한 행동도 하지 말도록 촉구했다. 또 적절한 해법을 찾기 위해 가능한 한 빨리 대화를 재개하라고 요구했다. 중국과 관련국들이 노력한 결과 한반도에 긴장 완화의 조짐이 보이고 있다. 우리는 이 기회를 살려 한반도 상황이 긍정적인 방향으로 진전될 수 있기를 희망한다.”

- 북한의 핵 문제 해결 방안은.

“한반도와 동북아의 안정을 위해 평화로운 방법으로 한반도 비핵화를 이루는 방안을 지지한다. 이를 위해 중국은 6자회담 재개를 촉구해왔다. 우리는 관련국들이 6자회담 재개를 위한 적극적인 조치를 취하고 조건을 마련하기를 희망한다. …
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