N.Korea’s security concern must be heeded in Kim-Trump summit

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/18 17:53:40

US President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that "Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed." One day before, he said that the US had had "direct talks at very high levels" with North Korea and there is a lot of good will." He also reiterated the importance of final results.

The preparations for the US-North Korea summit appear to be faring well. Trump said the summit will probably happen in June or earlier. He also said the US is considering "five locations" and none of them are in the US.

The location of the Trump-Kim meeting has huge political and security significance, and so is highly watched. In finalizing the location, the US and North Korea are already fighting their corner for the upcoming negotiations.

Although Pyongyang has showed willingness to denuclearize, it also wants to obtain certain rights and interests in the process. Thus it will be firm about the location to prevent Washington getting too pushy at the outset of talks. North Korea wants talks to be on an equal footing. This is understandable and should be taken into consideration.

For North Korea, the ideal location would surely be Pyongyang. If Trump is sincere, he should visit Pyongyang. His predecessor Bill Clinton planned to visit North Korea when in office, so why can't Trump?

North Korea may have offered another choice of meeting in a Chinese city, such as Beijing, in an attempt to enhance its negotiating position. This would send a signal that North Korea is not isolated in protecting its national security. Pyongyang's reasonable demands would be supported by China.

North Korea could also suggest the Russian port city of Vladivostok, or the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, which lies between China and Russia and would provide a security guarantee.

If the aforementioned locations don't work out, then the final choice may be somewhere on the North Korean side of the military demarcation line, as Pyongyang won't agree to a summit in Seoul. This is not a safe place for Kim and might suggest he has given way to Washington-Seoul pressure in conducting dialogue with the core countries regarding the nuclear issue. North Korea would be at a disadvantage, right from the off.

North Korea won't choose a Western country as Kim's safety could not be fully guaranteed and so Pyongyang would lose its edge.

Crucial to a successful US-North Korea summit is a political climate that enables the two sides to talk equally. A scenario where Trump sits at the negotiating table holding a big stick, ready to teach Pyongyang a lesson, must be avoided.

Only on an equal footing will the US take seriously North Korea's demands for denuclearization to include the US and South Korea removing their threat to North Korea.

China supports denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the serious consideration of North Korea's national security concerns. China is committed to lasting peace on the peninsula, freed from the shadow of nuclear weapons. 

Major countries must back North Korea in pursuing its legitimate rights and interests. Let us hope Beijing's sophisticated understanding of the situation is appreciated in Washington and Seoul.



Posted in: EDITORIAL

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