Defense minister refutes US at Beijing Xiangshan Forum

By Yang Sheng and Chen Ping Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/25 23:38:40 Last Updated: 2018/10/26 11:17:36

N.Korea military officer reiterates shift to economy

North Korean Vice Minister of the People's Armed Forces, Colonel General Kim Hyong-ryong (center) gestures as he chats with South Korean delegations during a tea break at the Xiangshan Forum held in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: AP

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum that opened on Thursday. Photo: Chen Ping/GT


A delegation from the US attends the opening ceremony. Photo: Chen Ping/GT

The 8th Beijing Xiangshan Forum opened on Thursday and Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the opening ceremony of the forum to express China's commitment to enhance strategic mutual trust and security cooperation with nations around the world.

Peace, development and win-win cooperation remain the trend of today's world, Xi said in the letter, adding that the global governance system and international order are changing at a faster pace, and the future of people around the world is closely connected.

Noting that the international community faces increasingly prominent traditional and non-traditional security challenges, Xi said that China is following a new concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.

More than 500 representatives from 67 countries including a delegation from the US are attending the forum.

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony, which responded to recent accusations and criticism against China made by "a US senior official."

Wei criticized the US for "seriously damaging China-US relations and mutual trust" by alleging China was interfering in US domestic politics.

"China expressed its anger and resolute opposition," Wei said. "We strongly call on the US to remedy the mistakes, and stop damaging China-US relations."

In his speech, Wei laid out a strong warning to countries who challenge China's core interest in the island of Taiwan.

"It is very dangerous to repeatedly challenge China's bottom line on this question," said Wei.

"If anyone ever tries to separate the island of Taiwan from China, the Chinese military will take resolute actions and we will pay whatever price that has to be paid."

Jin Canrong, associate dean of Renmin University of China's School of International Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday that "the China-US relationship is entering a new area in which competition is outweighing cooperation."

"In the past, cooperation and competition in the China-US relationship was 50-50, but in the coming decade, it might become 70 percent competition and 30 percent cooperation," said Jin.

Korean Peninsula issues

Also on Thursday, a senior North Korean military officer called on international society to continuously support the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as North Korea's efforts to develop its economy.

Kim Hyong-ryong, vice minister of North Korean People's Armed Forces, made the remarks in a speech at the first plenary session. This was the first time North Korea has sent a delegation to the forum and understandably the delegates hogged the limelight at the conference venue.

In his speech, Kim highlighted the great changes that had taken place on the Korean Peninsula since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games earlier this year and spoke highly of the efforts that some countries had made to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"The Republic [North Korea] is making sincere efforts to fully implement the multiple North-South joint declarations that had been signed and the DPRK-US joint statement which was critically significant in ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula," said Kim.

He noted that North Korea expects the second summit with the US to fully endorse the agreement reached during the Singapore summit, where US President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

When asked about North Korea's opening to the outside world during the question and answer session, Kim Hyong-ryong repeated what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had said about shifting the country's priority to economic development and said North Korea would make all-out efforts to develop its economy.

Lü Chao, a forum attendee and a Korean studies expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times at the forum on Thursday that "although Kim Hyong-ryong's speech had nothing new, it is meaningful that he reiterated what Kim Jong-un said about prioritizing economic development."

"This shows that North Korea doesn't want to return to the past when it had paid an enormous price for its nuclear program," Lü said.

The US' refusal to reduce sanctions has made North Korea's economic development difficult, so North Korea is desperately hoping the US could show greater sincerity, said Zheng Jiyong, director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Zheng, also a forum attendee, noted that "the Trump administration wants to use the Korean Peninsula issue again and again to gain domestic support, rather than solving it as soon as possible. So in the next step, the US might push forward a little bit to keep North Korea on the table and Donald Trump can also get reputation from it, but it is unlikely to see any major compromise from the US."

Kim Hyong-ryong told reporters at the forum that North Korea is optimistic about the future of the peninsula issue.



Newspaper headline: Defense minister refutes US


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