January 22, 2016 – South Korean President Park Geun-Hye today proposed that South Korea hold talks with the United States, China and other regional partners to discuss ways to denuclearize North Korea.
“We should find various and creative approaches, including attempting to hold five-way talks excluding North Korea,” Park said in a meeting with officials on how to deal with North Korea.
The comments represent growing doubts about the effectiveness of the nuclear talks, which showed no signs of resumption.
North Korea quit the disarmament-for-aid talks in April 2009 and conducted a second nuclear test a month later. But it has since repeatedly expressed its desire to return to the negotiating table without any preconditions.
But South Korea and the U.S. have said that Pyongyang must first show its sincerity toward denuclearization before such talks can resume.
The nuclear talks, which also involve Japan and Russia, were last held in 2008.
Park called on officials to concentrate diplomatic efforts on ensuring that the U.N. Security Council can adopt a resolution for strong and effective sanctions on North Korea over its fourth nuclear test earlier this month.
Park said Chinese cooperation is the key to creating the condition in which North Korea would have no other choice but to change its course.
“I expect China to take effective measures to make sure North Korea can recognize that the development of its nuclear program is useless, and come to the international community like Iran,” Park said.
China voted in favor of tougher sanctions by the United Nations Security Council to punish Pyongyang for its third nuclear test in February 2013. China is one of the five permanent veto-wielding members of the council.
Still, China is believed to be against going too far on North Korea out of the concern that strong sanctions could destabilize North Korea, which in turn could hurt Beijing’s national interests.
International sanctions on Iran have been lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran has complied with a deal with the U.S. and five world powers to curb its nuclear capabilities.