Park’s diplomacy faces a testU.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet at Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage, California on June 7 and 8. The first summit between the two leaders since the launch of the Xi government in China is drawing keen attention from around the globe. Considering the strong possibility of discussions on North Korean issues, we cannot but take special note of the meeting. The Park Geun-hye administration must exert its best diplomatic efforts with Washington and Beijing to help Obama and Xi reach a historic settlement on Pyongyang’s nuclear threats.
President Park reaffirmed her determination to cooperate with the United States on North Korean issues during her first official visit to Washington. Both leaders also reached a consensus on resolving the issues. But her first summit with Xi is expected to take place by the end of next month at the earliest. Park needs to deliver our positions on North Korea and the peninsula to her Chinese counterpart before Xi’s trip to America. She should persuade Xi to recognize a strong need for cooperation between Beijing and Washington - and the pivotal role of China - in achieving denuclearization of North Korea and maintaining the peace and stability on the peninsula, not to mention a willingness to have dialogue with Pyongyang based on her trust-building process with the North.
It would be overly optimistic to expect Washington and Beijing to empathize with our sense of urgency from the immediate nuclear threat across the border. The two superpowers are also fatigued from Pyongyang’s endless fiddling with nuclear cards. Therefore, we should take the initiative in providing the rationale - and the driving force - for successful resolution of the nuclear conundrum. The government must suggest a wide range of ideas to Washington and Beijing - including a proposal for establishment of a diplomatic relationship between Washington and Pyongyang, construction of a peace regime and economic aid in return for the North’s denuclearization - in an effort to encourage the two countries to strike a “big deal” with Pyongyang.
North Korea is also on the move, as seen by a visit to Beijing by Choi Ryong-hae - director of the General Political Department of the People’s Army and Kim Jong-un’s close aide - allegedly to break the deadlock after Pyongyang’s long-range rocket launches, a third nuclear test and extremely belligerent rhetoric. We also must act fast. President Park must call Obama and Xi or send letters to them if necessary. The president’s diplomatic capability faces a critical test.