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(EDITORIAL from The Korea Times on Sept.3)

All Headlines 09:08 September 03, 2016

Xi's 3 apologies
Hangzhou's G20 meeting can serve as right platform

Chinese President Xi Jinping owes three apologies ― one each to South Korea, the world and to himself.

Xi may start to dash them off when he meets President Park Geun-hye during the Sept. 4-5 G20 meeting he will host in Hangzhou.

His apology to Park needs to address the unacceptable behavior by his top diplomat Wang Yi. Wang openly chided his Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se during the ASEAN Regional Forum in Laos in July. The issue was about Seoul's decision to deploy the advanced U.S. missile interceptor against an existential threat by North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles. Unless the deployment plan was revoked, the Chinese foreign minister said Korea would be harmed.

Wang pressed Yun when the two met their counterpart from Japan last month.

Wang's behavior cannot be passed off as a diplomatic gaffe but should be taken more seriously as an affront to his sovereign neighbor. Xi must know the old common Asian custom ― a prudent boss takes responsibility for a wayward subordinate.

Xi's second apology should be to the world.

As China has indulged the North's psychopathic leader and found one excuse after another for his dangerous game of developing missiles and nuclear weapons, the result is that Kim Jong-un is about to have submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) operational.

Beijing belatedly realized the growing danger posed by the North as it joined the United Nations' condemnation of the North's latest SLBM test. This stealthy weapon is a game changer that would increase the North's danger many times by enabling it to sneak up on an adversary and inflict devastating damage on it. Already, the North has shown its capability to miniaturize nuclear warheads.

By using excuse after excuse, Xi has failed to act promptly and has put the world in more grave danger. Now, China faces allegations that the North's SLBMs are not retro-engineered from missiles in its possession but were imported from Beijing as virtually finished products.

His third apology is to himself and Red China's founding father, Mao Zedong.

In his Sept. 3, 2015, speech to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Japan in World War II, Xi confirmed his country's long-held policy of not seeking hegemony in the region. This stance was proclaimed in the Shanghai Communique at the end of U.S President Richard Nixon's 1972 landmark China visit.

Contrary to this public vow, Beijing under Xi has been engaged in a show of force ― building military installations in the South China Sea. It is an act that violates the maritime rule of law as set forth by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in a territorial dispute involving China and the Philippines.

Xi should see how his China looks in the mirror lately amid heady growth for the past three decades.

It has grown to be big enough to tackle the United States as the world's second-largest economy and an emerging superpower. But its behavior remains little changed ― inheriting the suspicions the Middle Kingdom held against the outside world after being colonized by Western powers at the turn of the 20th century. If Xi wants to take his country to the next level, as he has been anxious to do, he should start with self-reflection. There is no better way for that than making apologies where they are due.
(END)

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