China and South Korea issued a joint call for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula at a summit in Seoul yesterday that was seen as a pointed snub of nuclear-armed North Korea by chief ally Beijing.
In a joint statement after their talks, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and South Korean President Park Geun-hye reaffirmed their “firm opposition” to the development of nuclear weapons on the peninsula, but seemed divided on how best to persuade the North to give up its bombs.
While Park told reporters that the two sides had agreed to use “all means” possible to bring denuclearization about, Xi said that “dialogue and negotiation” were the best way forward.
“There was certainly a difference in perspectives, but that has always been there,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies. “South Korea might have liked Xi to say something more direct toward the North, but that was wishful thinking.”
If the joint statement marked no departure from established Chinese and South Korean policy toward North Korea, the fact that it was released at a summit in Seoul carried significant symbolic weight.
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