See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Xi, Kim meeting raises questions; cause for optimism in Asia

Kim Jong-un’s visit to Beijing this past week has raised questions and is a cause for muted optimism across Asia.


Written by

Updated: March 29, 2018

The visit is the latest in a series of goodwill gestures that the North Korean regime has put forth in recent months starting with its participation in the winter Olympics to receiving a South Korean delegation in the North.

China

With Kim due to have summits with the leaders of the Republic of Korea and the United States in the next two months, the meeting with Xi came about at an opportune time as the North needed to reaffirm its commitment to its longtime ally and primary trading partner.

“China takes into consideration other factors such as nuclear non-proliferation and peace and stability on the peninsula, and therefore it is opposed to Pyongyang continuing to develop nuclear weapons,” the China Daily said in an editorial.

“Nuclear weapons cannot guarantee the security of the DPRK. Instead, it will ensue more international pressure and a possible military strike by the US. Thus the DPRK has realized that denuclearization will improve its ties with China.”

Undoubtedly, Chinese-DPRK relations have been strained over the past year with Pyongyang going ahead with its nuclear program. China has signaled that it is increasingly agitated both by Pyongyang’s insistence on continuing down the nuclear path and questions over its relations with the DPRK at the UN Security Council.

Chinese diplomats and Xi Jinping have insisted that China is against the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, even going so far as to sanction Pyongyang according to UN guidelines. Pyongyang’s overtures to Washington and Seoul over the past few months may also have government officials in Beijing feeling sidelined. The Xi-Kim meeting changes that.

“Suggestions that Beijing had been sidelined by Pyongyang’s approaches to Seoul and Washington were always unfounded given the two countries’ long-standing friendship, which was forged in the crucible of war,” wrote an editorial in the China Daily. “The Xi-Kim meeting also shows that China is still a key player in maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula.”

According to state media, the meeting between Xi and Kim means that all the stakeholders on the Korean peninsula have been addressed and the planned meeting between Trump, RoK President Moon Jae-in and Kim will have more chance of success.

South Korea

Cautious and muted optimism seems to be the tone generated by the Xi-Kim bilateral in South Korea.

Commentators in the South agreed that Kim Jong-un needed to repair relationships with his biggest ally before the planned US-ROK-DPRK summit.

“I think North Korea wanted to have ‘insurance’ against the upcoming summit with the US and check how much China is willing to protect North Korea’s interests,” Shin Beom-chul, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, told the Korean Herald.

“It is a win-win for China, too. With China’s President Xi Jinping tightening his grip over the country, his next challenge is to expand his clout on the matter of the Korean Peninsula,” said Jung Jae-hung, a researcher at the Sejong Institute.

While the meeting between Xi and Kim may have been anticipated, the chance for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is tantalizing and offers some cause for optimism, especially after a year when the President of the United States has threatened, more than once, to attack the north.

“North Korea appears to be sending a message to the US that it is serious about its commitment to denuclearization if its security is guaranteed, as the US is filling its national security team with hard-liners who are suspicious about North Korea’s intention,” said Hong Min, director at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

Japan

Where South Korea is cautiously optimistic about future talks with Pyongyang, Japan has raised questions about the Xi-Kim meeting.

North Korean missile tests regularly fly over the Japanese home islands and the country hosts several US overseas military bases.

Shinzo Abe has applauded Trump’s hardline measures against Pyongyang and has advocated strong missile defense initiatives within Japan to protect against potential North Korean attacks.

During an intensive deliberation at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referred to the visit by the chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and his summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“With profound interest, we are working to analyze and collect information,” Abe said. “We also want to receive briefings from the Chinese side.”

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe added “It is imperative that North Korea dismantle its nuclear and missile programs completely, verifiably and irreversibly. Sanctions [against North Korea] must be maintained unless [Pyongyang] takes concrete actions” regarding dismantlement.

Tokyo believes Pyongyang’s moves to improve ties with Beijing — following its steps for rapprochement with Washington and Seoul — are meant to allow the nation to proceed with denuclearization negotiations at a pace that it finds advantageous. North Korea is apparently “aiming to leave Japan out of [denuclearization] talks as Tokyo is leading the charge to pile on pressure” on Pyongyang, a senior Foreign Ministry official told the Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan has urged the United States and South Korea to conform with its basic stance of not loosening pressure on North Korea unless it takes specific steps toward denuclearization.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

S. Korean, ASEAN officials look ahead to special summit and stronger regional ties

Korea has increasingly look to Southeast Asia as an export destination and regional partners. Ahead of the highly anticipated summit in Busan next month between the leaders of South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, top officials from participating countries gathered in the southern port city Wednesday and voiced high expectations for the future of the relationship between South Korea and the ASEAN nations. South Korean Ambassador to ASEAN Lim Sung-nam, ASEAN-Korea Center Secretary-General Lee Hyuk, Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don and Myanmar Ambassador to South Korea U Thant Sin said they looked forward to the upcoming summit, calling it a steppingstone to stronger South Korea-ASEAN ties and to economic prosperity and peace on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past 30 years, the relationship between South Korea and ASEAN has grown to an astonishing degree. Trade volume rose 20-fold and human e


By The Korea Herald
October 18, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

We will never abandon people of occupied Kashmir, says Army chief during LoC visit

The army chief said that the Pakistan army will fulfil its role no matter the cost. Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa while visiting troops stationed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday vowed “to never leave Kashmiris alone” in their fight against Indian oppression. “Kashmiris in IOJ&K are bravely facing Indian atrocities under continued siege. We shall never leave them alone and play our rightful role at whatever cost”, said Gen Bajwa. Gen Bajwa’s remarks followed a briefing of the “deliberate targeting of civilians” by Indian troops and the response by Pakistan’s armed forces. A day earlier, at least three civilians died and eight others were injured in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after Indian troops resorted to “indiscri


By Dawn
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam unveils measures to ease housing crunch

Lam was forced to deliver speech via video after protests. Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced measures aimed at easing a housing shortage on Wednesday (Oct 16) as she battles to restore confidence in her administration and address widespread discontent after four months of mostly violent anti-government protests. Mrs Lam was forced to deliver her speech via video after her annual policy address in the Legislative Council was aborted when some lawmakers repeatedly jeered and shouted at her as she began speaking. After aborting her speech in the chamber tw


By The Straits Times
October 17, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Singapore’s 4G leadership lays out plans to take relationship with China ‘to a higher level’

The two countries share a close relationship. Singapore’s fourth-generation leadership has a comprehensive plan for engaging with China economically and plugging into the East Asian giant’s rapid development. Ten members of the “4G” cohort drove home this point as they spoke with Singapore media at the end of a bilateral meeting in Chongqing on Tuesday (Oct 15) that was of particular significance, as the Singapore team was composed fully of this new generation of political leaders. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat led the Singapore delegation as he co-chaired the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the highest-level bilateral platform between Singapore and China. Mr Heng, who took over the reins from former DPM Teo Chee Hean earlier this year, said his first meeting in the new role was forward-looking and productive, and that he took the opportunity to “


By The Straits Times
October 16, 2019