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(EDITORIAL from The Korea Times on June 6)

All News 08:54 June 06, 2016

No to Xi-Kim summit
Meeting to violate UN rules unless it helps disarm NK

Following a high-level North Korean delegation's visit to Beijing, it is cautiously speculated that a summit is next on the cards. Chinese President Xi Jinping told Pyongyang's envoy Ri Su-yong of the importance of the two countries' friendship despite the North's nuclear and missile development that embarrassed its only benefactor, raising the possibility that the two were ready to mend ties.

Xi should remember two things as he deals with the North and especially when it comes to a meeting with Kim Jong-un.

First, it would violate the spirit, if not the letter, of existing sanctions imposed by the United Nations on the North after its fourth nuclear test and long-range missile launch. U.N. Resolution No. 2270 calls for all member states to implement punitive measures as stipulated with the goal of having Pyongyang give up its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs. It was approved by all the five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council. As one of the five, China, which accounts for 90 percent of the North's trade, promised to abide by it.

The Xi-Kim summit could definitely ease the pressure applied on the North, now being tightened by the U.S. designation of it as a state of "primary money-laundering concern." This is expected to have a bigger effect than the freeze of $25 million deposited in the Banco Delta Asia that forced Pyongyang to come back to the negotiating table. Russia, the North's former supporter, and even Uganda, its staunch ally, have now joined the U.N. effort.

If this global effort to disarm the North wobbles, Xi should be held responsible. He should say goodbye to his dream of making his country a global leader. A leader requires respect from other nations and the first step to gaining this is to keep his word. Twice before, China put its ties with the North ahead of its obligations as a superpower. After the North's nuclear test in 2009, Hu Jintao, Xi's predecessor, sent his top lieutenant there, ironically as part of a charm offensive. Then, in 2013, Xi received Choe Ryong-hae, now vice chairman of the North's Central Military Commission, headed by Kim, and made up with its client state, making the sanctions ineffective.

Already, key state holders including South Korea, the U.S. and Japan are casting suspicion on what transpired during the Xi-Ri meeting. This alone could create mistrust between China and the rest of the world, throwing a spanner into the ongoing effort to separate Pyongyang from its WMDs.

Of course, there is no rule without an exception.

If a Xi-Kim meeting produces tangible results toward the North's denuclearization, then it could be given the go-ahead. The conditions may be met if the North declares an indefinite and verifiable moratorium on its nuclear programs. This moratorium should not be a kind that Pyongyang can switch on or off at will, but rather one that can be made permanent.

Although it is hidden under strong rhetoric, the international community doesn't want to see the North implode at the risk of a refugee or nuclear crisis. It may throw a lifeline to the North, if it is willing to have a serious talks that can lead to it give up its nuclear weapons. If Xi is confident about this, he may try to talk directly to the young dictator; but at his own peril. The Bible says, "Where there is a will, there is a way. "Xi, a supposed atheist, may try to find out whether that is true.
(END)

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