Inter-Korean cooperation doesn’t necessarily have to wait for Washington’s denuclearization talks with Pyongyang to progress, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said on Tuesday.
She made the statement after meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other diplomats in Palo Alto, California. “Our basic stance is that North Korea-US talks and inter-Korean dialogue complement each other in a virtuous cycle,” the minister said.
Kang added that, with US-North Korea talks in stalemate, it is essential to revive “North Korea’s engagement momentum” through inter-Korean talks.
The meeting came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in said inter-Korean cooperation could help ease the way for sanctions to be lifted on North Korea. However, it is unclear whether Pyongyang would welcome the proposed steps, Reuters said.
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Russia has for some time now supported the idea of Eurasian integration and the creation of a single economic space in Eurasia. With this aim in mind, the Russian Federation has been collaborating with the nations on the continent in a bilateral format as well as within frameworks of various organizations, such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) (a body in which Russia is a key member). In addition, the Russian Federation supports similar projects initiated by other countries. Thus it reacted with enthusiasm towards China’s transport and development One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR). Russia was equally welcoming to South Korea’s Eurasia Initiative and its New Northern Policy.
It is common knowledge that in the second half of the 20th century, the world was split in two blocks: the Communist one headed by the Soviet Union and China, and the capitalist one led by the United States. And not only were countries divided thus by state borders but also from within. For instance, North Korea (the DPRK) and South Korea (the Republic of Korea, ROK) stemmed from this ideological split. The latter became an indelible part of the U.S.-led block. During the Cold War, relations between the Communist nations located primarily to the north of ROK and South Korea essentially did not develop. And, in fact, there was a war between the DPRK and the Republic of Korea from 1950 to 1953.
However, at the end of the 1980s the Cold War was ending, and the relationships between South Korea and its northern neighbors began to improve. During Roh Tae-woo’ presidency (from 1988 to 1993) the “Northern Policy” was launched. Within its framework the nation began to cooperate with the USSR and the PRC.
The issue of geography became one of the reasons why South Korea had taken such a step. The ROK is located in the southern part of Eurasia’s Korean Peninsula, and is separated from the rest of the continent by the aforementioned northern neighbors: the DPRK, China and the USSR (Russia since 1991). Hence, South Korea is forced to maintain its ties with other countries by air and by sea. And its poor relations with North Korea made operations of regular passenger and freight services difficult, which was not beneficial for South Korea’s economy.
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One of the more important consequences of the Trump Administration trade war against both China as well as Japan is the recent diplomatic and economic meeting between Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Not only was it the first such meeting by a Japanese PM in seven years since the chill in relations over a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea. It also suggested a new political and economic strategy might be emerging across Asia’s largest economic sphere. Hours after leaving Beijing Abe hosted Indian PM Narenda Modi in Tokyo. Does this all foreshadow a new flank in an emerging multi-polar world or merely shrewd politics by Abe?
Showing he saw the meeting in Beijing as more than a photo-op, Abe brought a business delegation of some 1,000 top Japanese businessmen. China Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced that deals worth $18 billion had been signed during the talks. As well the two agreed to resume $29 billion worth of mutual currency swaps in event of future currency crises. Both leaders agreed to create a hotline to communicate in event of possible future tensions. Abe also invited Xi to come to Japan in 2019, a major step.
Less discussed in public media was the fact that Japan has agreed to include the China Renminbi in Japan’s foreign exchange reserves, a significant boost to the credibility of China’s currency. China for its part will allow the Bank of Japan to invest directly in Chinese government bonds.
What was not mentioned in the press accounts either in China or Japan was an historic offer of the Japanese Emperor conveyed through Abe to Xi. According to informed sources in Japan, Abe conveyed the wish of Japan’s Emperor Akihito to visit China before he abdicates next April to formally apologize to the Chinese people for the Japanese invasion of China during the 1930s. At the same time the Emperor extended an invitation to China’s Xi to come to Japan. According to the report, Xi accepted the invitation regardless the Emperor’s decision on his visit to China. Such a move by Japan’s Emperor would be seen by Beijing and the Chinese as more than symbolic.
Notably, Li formally invited Japan to reconsider its participation in China’s ambitious Belt-Road Initiative infrastructure project which has recently come under criticism from Malaysian,
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