Park doubtful of Abe summit

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Park doubtful of Abe summit

At a Blue House luncheon yesterday with senior members of major news groups, President Park Geun-hye showed little optimism about holding a summit with a Japanese leader, stressing that a change of heart would be necessary for the meeting to yield a constructive outcome.

Park met with a group of chief editorial writers and commentators from the JoongAng Ilbo and other major news organizations and discussed a raft of issues ranging from Northeast Asia cooperation to relations with North Korea.

Asked about the prospects of a bilateral summit with Japan following her successful summits with the U.S. and Chinese presidents, Park said she has concerns.

“When you have a summit, it becomes meaningful when the two countries improve their relationship,” Park said. “When the outcome is unexpectedly poor, everyone is disappointed.”

Park said Japan continues to reopen Korean wounds with its territorial claims over the Dokdo islets and refusal to apologize for its wartime misdeeds toward Korean sex slaves.

Park also defended the joint communique on the future vision of Korea and China, which was announced after her summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping as a significant step.

Critics said that the statement did not specifically state Beijing’s refusal to tolerate a nuclear-armed North Korea, but Park said the Chinese leaders were “adamant” about the nuclear issue.

“No tolerance for a nuclear-armed North Korea was expressed as denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Park said. “Some may complain about that, but it was a considerate expression on the part of China.”

Park also showed concern and disappointment toward a news anchor’s recent slip of the tongue.

After two Chinese passengers were killed in a recent crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco, a Channel A news anchor said it was fortunate that the victims were Chinese (and not Korean).

“[Such comments will make] friendly thoughts toward Korea disappear,” she said. “It was so damaging … and so regrettable.”

Park also emphasized the need for North Korea to stop issuing vicious rhetoric towards South Korea as the first step to building trust.

“[North Korea] needs to respect our people and the Republic of Korea, and both [Koreas] must work together. If we fail to do so, the two Koreas will slip [farther apart] once again.”

She said building trust will allow the North to work toward economic development, noting that the international community is watching the ongoing Kaesong talks.

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