Kim Jong Un (right), Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), together with Moon Jae-in (left), President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), pose for a group photo after signing the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration in Pyongyang, capital of the DPRK, on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Xinhua News Agency).
President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) visited Pyongyang and held talks with Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from September 18 to 20, 2018.
The two leaders signed the September Pyongyang Joint Declaration and reached new important consensus on improving and developing the mutual relations, easing regional military tensions, and advancing the denuclearization and peace talks process of the Korean Peninsula. The Chinese Foreign Ministry welcomed the progress and appreciated the positive efforts made by the two sides.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is one of the key topics of the Pyongyang summit. In the joint declaration, the DPRK and the ROK agreed to “free the Korean Peninsula from nuclear weapons and remove all nuclear threats” and to make substantial progress as soon as possible.
More specifically, the DPRK decided to permanently shut down the Sohae engine test site and missile launch pad in the presence of international experts from relevant countries. The DPRK also intended to take additional measures including permanently dismantling of the Yongbyon Nuclear Complex.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula takes time. Since the beginning of this year, the DPRK has stopped its nuclear tests. In May, the DPRK blasted a number of tunnels and ancillary facilities at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, announcing the formal dismantlement of the nuclear test site. Journalists from different countries were invited to watch the explosions and demolition activities on site. Those actions demonstrated the DPRK's sincerity in seeking the denuclearization. In this regard, China has repeatedly stressed that the positive movements of the DPRK should be welcomed, encouraged, and supported by the international community. Of course, only the efforts of the DPRK are far from enough.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula requires the joint efforts from all parties. In the joint declaration signed by the DPRK and the ROK, the DPRK side proposed conditions for further implementation of denuclearization, that is, there should be corresponding measures from the US in line with the spirit of the DPRK-US Joint Statement issued on June 12.
In fact, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), criticized on Tuesday the US’s mixed-message policy toward the DPRK. The US requires the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons and programs in a “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” manner before other issues can be discussed.
However, this claim has long been rejected by the DPRK and this is not a consensus reached by the two countries. The DPRK is also not happy with the disproportioned efforts made by the US. The US has increased its sanctions pressure and demanded other parties cooperating with its maximum pressure targets.
Meanwhile, it unilaterally asks the DPRK to make efforts. From the DPRK’s perspective, the US side has deliberately ignored the security concerns of the DPRK, which is contrary to the goal of establishing new DPRK-US diplomatic relations agreed by the two leaders at the Singapore summit.
Therefore, the DPRK pointed out that the US side should assume full responsibility for the failure of the DPRK-US consultation.
The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will not go smoothly. The recent statements of the DPRK are reminiscent of the recent challenges of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In August, the US President cancelled the Secretary of State’s visit to the DPRK. At that time, all parties were worried about the reversal of the continuous positive momentum made on the peninsula this year.
In response, China promptly voiced its support for the advancing of the process of political settlement in accordance with the consensus reached by the leaders of the DPRK and the US. This once again highlights China’s firm stance on maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
China has been playing an important role in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. China has always adopted a fair and just attitude. China has taken care of all parties' legitimate security concerns and addressed issues while resolutely safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation system and adhering to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
China also calls on all parties to actively engage and negotiate, take care of each other's legitimate concerns, and show more sincerity and flexibility when it comes to different positions of relevant parties.
Peace and prosperity, reconciliation and cooperation are the common aspirations of the people of the Korean Peninsula and the region. At present, the development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula presents a rare historical opportunity.
Only when the relevant parties make timely political decisions, avoid the inherent vicious circles, and further consolidate and expand the existing efforts, can the process of political settlement on the Korean Peninsula issue become sustainable and irreversible.
Disclaimer: The article was written by Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department for International and Strategic Studies of China Institute of International Studies. It is translated and edited from Chinese into English by the China Military online. The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of eng.chinamil.com.cn. Chinamil.com.cn does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same. If the article carries photographs or images, we do not vouch for their authenticity.