DJ Seeks to Revive Sunshine Policy

11 05 2009

Kim DJBy Sunny Lee, The Korea Times (05-08-2009)

BEIJING ― Former President Kim Dae-jung, the architect of the Sunshine Policy of promoting engagement with North Korea, will meet with the Obama administration’s front man on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, in Seoul Saturday. “(The U.S. special envoy) Bosworth will visit my house in Seoul tomorrow,” Kim said in Beijing on Friday, without elaborating.

Expectations have been revived on the derailed multinational negotiation to dissuade North Korea’s nuclear ambition, as Beijing the two prominent figures who support the policy of engaging North Korea this week. Bosworth arrived in Beijing Thursday, while the former South Korean President had been visiting China for five days until Friday.

In China, Kim met with a group of Chinese experts on North Korea on Thursday at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as well as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is widely believed to become the next president when the incumbent Hu Jintao steps down in 2012.

It’s not clear how the personal visit by the U.S. envoy to the architect of the Sunshine policy would help move forward the stalled nuclear talks.

The negative sentiment is […] directed at the efficiency of the current multinational negotiation framework, where six countries, including the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan, the U.S., have been involved.

“I have never been a great supporter of the six-party talks. There are too many participants in the talks and every party has its own agenda. The members of the talks traditionally have conflicting and competing security and ideological blocs among themselves. So, it’s not easy to reconcile the interest of each party,” Leonid Petrov, a Russian expert on Korean affairs, told The Korea Times, proposing instead a bilateral track between North Korea and the U.S. as a viable alternative.

Another long-persistent doubt is whether North Korea is really ready to give up its nuclear weapons. This suspicion is even shared by some scholars of the host country of the nuclear talks as well. “Developing nuclear weapons is a fixed national policy of North Korea,” said Zhang Liangui, a prominent Chinese security expert at the elite Chinese Communist Party School, in an article Thursday on The International Herald Leader, noting that the claim that North Korea’s nuclear drive is largely motivated by its perceived security threat from the U.S. is exaggerated…

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Kyodo News reported that the US assured Japan that it has no plans to hold bilateral talks with the DPRK outside a framework of the six-nation process on denuclearizing Pyongyang, senior Japanese officials said. Stephen Bosworth, the US special representative for DPRK policy who is traveling around Asia for consultations on the DPRK issue, referred to the plan during separate meetings in Tokyo with Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka and Akitaka Saiki, director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. (“U.S. NOT EYEING TALKS WITH N. KOREA OUTSIDE 6-PARTY FRAMEWORK “, Tokyo , 2009/05/11)