US and China need UN Security Council help to deal with North Korean nuclear threat

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2017, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2017, 9:01pm

The initiative by President Xi Jinping (習近平) to meet up with US President Donald Trump was realised when the latter made his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida available for the two-day summit between the leaders in early April.

The two leaders with their top personnel held talks there and, in between negotiations, got to know each other better and to socialise with their respective families.

The topics discussed during the summit included maritime disputes and Taiwan. Regarding trade, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said both sides agreed on a 100-day plan to address their trade imbalance.

One key issue that Trump and Xi were more involved in during and after their dialogue was North Korea.

After the talks, media reported that Wu Dawei (吳大偉), China’s special representative for Korean peninsula affairs, said Beijing would work hard to bring the US and North Korea to the negotiating table for direct talks, as the US is rejecting the idea of holding multilateral negotiations.

Trump tweeted on April 12 he had already explained to Xi that a trade deal with the US would be far better for them if they solved the North Korean problem.

He made clear his hope that China would pressure its neighbour and close ally to stop its nuclear programme, otherwise he and his allies would take action on their own.

Xi explained that, during a phone conversation with Trump on April 12, China insisted on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula to firmly safeguard peace and security, and called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

On April 15, North Korea refrained from carrying out a nuclear test to mark a national celebration. It held a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of the country’s late founding father, Kim Il-sung, and displayed a new type of submarine-launched missile, which could be seen either as a sign of defiance or as restraint on conducting a nuclear test.

Through his repeated talks with Xi, Trump should by now be more acutely aware that putting pressure alone on China for a long-term solution to the North Korea nuclear weapons problem will not work.

It will be necessary for China, the US and Russia to work through the UN Security Council, and together with their numerous allies, towards having constructive dialogue with the leadership in Pyongyang, to encourage North Korea to progressively open up and become a responsible member of the global community.

Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan