A summit between South Korea, China and Japan convened in Seoul on Sunday, adopting a joint declaration for peace and cooperation in north-east Asia and reiterated their stances on denuclearisation.
The declaration included restarting the Six Party Talks (SPT) as early as possible, to denuclearize the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner.
Following the summit, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo also addressed the abductees’ issue at a joint press conference.
“Regarding regional affairs, I strongly urge both leaders, to solve the abductees’ issue which is the most important task for Japan.”Abe added that they would continue trilateral cooperation to urge North Korea to respect the joint declaration from the SPT, and embark on specific actions towards denuclearization.
China’s Premier Li Keqiang however did not mention China’s role at the joint press conference.
Kim Seong-cheol, chief of Diplomatic Strategy team of Sejong Institute, said interested countries are reiterating their positions.
“South Korea, Japan, and China are reiterating denuclearization policy, not accepting North Korea as a nuclear state. They are pushing North Korea, preventing further provocations,” Kim told NK News.
North Korea’s nuclear issue and the SPT, in corporation with neighboring countries, were also highlighted at the joint statement between Korea and the U.S. on October 16.
In the statement, Washington and Seoul reaffirmed their commitment “to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea in a peaceful manner”.
They added that North Korea’s ballistic programs are a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and the North’s commitment under the SPT.
“Recognizing the common interests of our Six-Party Talks partners in the denuclearization of North Korea, we will continue to strengthen our coordination with China and the other parties in order to bring North Korea …back to credible and meaningful talks as soon as possible. ” the statement reads.
The corporation between the U.S. and South Korea on the North Korean issue was repeated on October 27 at the annual defense talks.
“The minister and the secretary reiterated the firm view of the ROK and the United States that North Korea’s policies and actions, including its United Nations-proscribed nuclear and ballistic missile programs and proliferation activities,” the joint statement released on Monday reads.
The two parties clarified further provocations from North Korea are “not to be tolerated,” and they will work “shoulder to shoulder.”
Jeong Young-cheol, professor of Sogang University said South Korea’s current diplomatic movement is focusing more on “deterring” North Korean provocations.
“It is less likely that North Korea will change (due to continuous summits). Fulfilling the August 25 agreement is more important.” Jeong told NK News.
Seo Dong-gu, visiting researcher of Korea Institute for National Unification indicated the Workers’ Party Congress next May, as a possible turning point.
“China is pushing North Korea to attend the SPT. North Korea’s strategic determination is required. If North Korea test-launches a missile or conducts a nuclear test around the congress the situation will get worse. Pyongyang needs to decide to improve relations with Beijing and Seoul, in order to pave the way for the SPT,” Seo told NK News.
(Ha-young Choi is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She studied Korean history, mainly focusing on modern Korean history at Korea University.)