Strategic dialogue for Beijing, Pyongyang

Updated: 2013-06-20 07:39

By Zhou Wa (China Daily)

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Foreign affairs officials from Beijing and Pyongyang exchanged views on bilateral ties and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula amid a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings by other members of the Six-Party Talks on Wednesday.

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's First Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan co-chaired a strategic dialogue meeting between their ministries in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news conference.

Zhang told Kim that China attaches great importance to Beijing-Pyongyang ties and hopes to work closely with Pyongyang to push for long-term healthy bilateral relations.

It is in the interest of all parties to realize the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and to resolve the issue through political dialogues, Zhang said, adding that Beijing supports talks among relevant parties and hopes for an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

Kim said Pyongyang values the transitional friendship with Beijing and would like to work with Beijing to develop the cooperative ties.

He said Pyongyang would like to hold talks with relevant parties, and attend any communication mechanism including the Six-Party Talks and to resolve the nuclear issue through peaceful negotiations.

Kim also met Wu Dawei, China's special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs, and other Foreign Ministry officials, Hua said.

Rebuilding trust

Observers said that through communication with China, Pyongyang hopes to find ways to rebuild trust with other countries after realizing its strong rhetoric in the past six months cannot save it from deep-rooted isolation by the international community.

Pyongyang's launch of a long-range missile in December and third nuclear test in February triggered unprecedented distrust and isolation from the international community, so it is eager to find a way out, said Wang Fan, an expert on DPRK affairs at China Foreign Affairs University.

Chen Qi, a professor on international affairs with Tsinghua University, said Pyongyang is also attempting to explore the possibility of securing economic support from China to improve its economy.

The meeting follows a series of actions by Pyongyang showing the DPRK's willingness to communicate with the international community.

Last week, Pyongyang proposed talks with Washington to ease tensions that rose earlier this year when it threatened a nuclear attack on the United States and the Republic of Korea. The White House said that any talks must involve action by Pyongyang to show it is moving toward disarmament.

Pyongyang had also proposed high-ranking talks with the ROK, but the two sides canceled the talks at the last minute because of differences over protocol. In May, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un dispatched his special envoy to China, who was received by President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Zhang Liangui, an expert on Korean studies at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, warned that countries should remain "clear-headed" over Pyongyang's desire for communication.

(China Daily 06/20/2013 page10)