Positive inter-Korean momentum demands US play more constructive role

By Deng Yushan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-15 20:38:01

The foundation for inter-Korean dialogue further firmed up on Monday, with South Korean President Park Geun-hye reaffirming her country's open attitude.

All parties with a stake in Korean Peninsula peace and stability, particularly the intransigent US, need to seize the momentum and join hands to unravel the decades-old predicament.

At a televised press conference, Park urged Pyongyang to respond to Seoul's dialogue offer "without any hesitation," and said she can hold a summit with North Korea without preconditions "if it helps."

The open-arms overture is the latest of a series of signs that both sides of the 38th parallel are showing increasing interest in and paving the way for consultation and reconciliation.

In his New Year's address, North Korean top leader Kim Jong-un, while calling on South Korea to halt all provocative war maneuvers, emphasized that there is no reason not to hold bilateral summit talks.

Noting that the tragedy of a split Korean nation cannot be tolerated any more, he pledged to make an all-out effort to promote inter-Korean dialogue and negotiations.

In view of the positive signals of late and the painful fact that more than 60 years after the Korean War (1950-53) the Korean Peninsula remains haunted by the specter of war, it is high time that Pyongyang and Seoul embarked upon the path of rapprochement.

Deep differences rooted in chronic and almost reflexive distrust still stand in the way, as has been demonstrated in the protracted and tortuous Korean Peninsula denuclearization process.

But with good faith and concrete tension-easing and trust-building measures on the part of both sides, divergences can be managed, mitigated and bridged step by step.

Others should help whenever they can. The Korean Peninsula remaining a powder keg poses a grave threat to regional peace and development and plants a ticking bomb under global stability.

That is why Washington's outright refusal of Pyongyang's recent proposal of temporarily suspending nuclear tests in exchange for a halt to joint US-South Korean military exercises is especially regrettable and counterproductive.

Whatever concerns the US has in mind, Pyongyang's offer merits due consideration. Washington should abandon its parochial interests and revisit its decision, helping build on the positive momentum rather than arresting it.

After all, Washington needs to remember that the crux of the Korean Peninsula problem is the mutual distrust and antagonism between the US and North Korea. It bears inescapable responsibility in defusing tension and restoring stability.

The depressing reality that peace has eluded Koreans for more than six decades screams for change and demands that no party waste any chance.

It is highly imperative that Washington carve out some flexibility and summon up more political courage to help turn the flickers of hope on the horizon of the Korean Peninsula into flames of progress.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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