North Korea: Japan, China, South Korea leaders meet but differ on tactic on Pyongyang
When a major peace initiative takes shape, it also produces peace as side-effect. As diplomatic channels have been opened in a rush to resolve the North Korean crisis, three important powers in the Far East that are neighbours to Pyongyang - China, South Korea and Japan - have also joined the party to settle, apart from the Korean question, issues among themselves.
On Wednesday, May 9, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed a share desire for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula though they desisted from declaring an open commitment to the "maximum pressure" tactic led by the US against North Korean because of contradictory stances.
The leaders of the three countries, who met for the first time since 2015 in a trilateral summit in Tokyo, also advocated free trade and globalisation in what seemed to be a direct dig at the current US administration's protectionist approach, reported the Japan Times.
The trilateral meet came after the historic Inter-Korean Summit on April 27 and also amid frequent diplomatic parleys between North Korea and China and the US. A day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un flied to China to meet its president Xi Jinping for the second time inside two months, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Kim in Pyongyang in also his second visit to the hermit kingdom in over a month.
Abe, speaking in the presence of Keqiang and Moon, said all three countries agreed that the UN's resolutions against North Korea must be "fully implemented" for permanently dismantling Pyongyang's capacity to produce nuclear weapons.
Abe also cited Kim's recent visit to China to stress that Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul "needs to cooperate with the global community so that emerging momentum for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia can lead to concrete actions on North Korea's part," the Japan Times report said.
The Chinese premier congratulated the South Korean president over his recent breakthrough talks with the North Korean leader and also hoped that Kim would meet Abe as well. The only missing link in the diplomatic frenzy at the moment is North Korea-Japan talks although Japan has been at the receiving end of North Korea's nuclear tests.
The trilateral summit happened just weeks ahead of US President Donald Trump's historic meeting with Kim, a summit which the world is eagerly waiting for.
On the stances on what strategy to adopt to see North Korea fully denuclearises itself, while Japan and South Korea agreed on maintaining maximum pressure on the Kim regime, China, North Korea's only ally in the region despite the recent dip in their relationship, is in favour of incremental lifting of the sanctions.