U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met with each other in Florida on April 6. Their summit talks gained much attention as an indicator of Washington’s North Korea policy and the future of Sino-American relations.
After the summit talks, both Washington and Beijing have been showing unprecedented moves. For instance, China has returned coal to North Korea, stopped flights to Pyongyang and imposed a ban on travel to North Korea, which constitute an unexpected pressure on the North. Even the possibility of stopped crude oil and food supply is being mentioned by Chinese state-run media as of now. This implies that the two Presidents sufficiently exchanged their opinions related to the North during the talks.
The U.S. President, in fact, indirectly admitted that there was an agreement related to the North between the two powers by saying that he has no reason to call China a currency manipulator if the two countries cooperate with each other on North Korea issues.
Their cooperation is welcome news without doubt. This is because the significant deterioration of the North Korean nuclear issue that has occurred so far is because great powers surrounding the Korean Peninsular have failed to coordinate themselves amid conflicting interests although the most fundamental cause is North Korea’s ambition.
On the other hand, the current situation is worrisome on the part of South Korea in that the North Korean nuclear issue is being mainly tackled by not itself but the U.S. and China. Seoul, however, cannot blame the others. During the progress of the issue, South Korean leaders were not consistent and effective at all in their policy.
Under the circumstance, the cooperation between Washington and Beijing on the nuclear issue can lead to their cooperation on the future of the North down the road. Then, the fate of the Korean Peninsula will have been determined again by powers surrounding it like 72 years ago. During the summit talks, the Chinese President reportedly even said Korea was a part of China for thousands of years. It is a distortion of history that cannot be condoned.
A new administration will be inaugurated in South Korea next month. Its top priority is resume talks on the North Korean nuclear issue among South Korea, the US and China. South Korea cannot be counted out from this matter by any means.