Yu Myung Hwan Suspicious of Peace Treaty Talk

Chris Green  |  2009-12-02 17:33
South Korean Foreign Minster Yu Myung Hwan has again questioned the true intention behind North Koreas recent public calls for a peace treaty with the U.S.

In advance of the visit of U.S. point man on North Korea Stephen Bosworth to Pyongyang in the first half of next week, Yu told a forum on Wednesday that Pyongyang's talk of a peace pact is viewed as being intended to buy time, distract attention, and continue nuclear weapons developments in order to be recognized as a nuclear state like Pakistan and India."

His remarks follow on from those of Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, who recently explained that the U.S. would be prepared to go down the road of normalization of relations, a peace treaty instead of an armistice, economic development assistance if North Korea verifiably denuclearized.

In his speech, Yu also worked hard to keep South Koreas name at the forefront of any possible peace treaty talks between North Korea and the outside world.

North Korea is of the opinion that the U.S. is the only party with which it needs to negotiate a treaty following the armistice that ended the Korean War, but Yu disagrees, saying, "North Korea's position is that it has already resolved the issue with South Korea via the 1992 Basic Agreement and that a peace treaty should be signed with the U.S. But a peace treaty should be discussed between South and North Korea as well as the U.S. and China."

However, the Foreign Minister was less concerned about the effect of bilateral talks on sanctions, or on future negotiating conditions, saying, Some parties worry about the possibility that U.S.-North Korea bilateral talks will weaken international sanctions. However, by going through the process [of the first and second nuclear tests], participants in the Six-Party Talks learned a good lesson; lukewarm measures cannot lead to changes in North Koreas attitude.

In terms of sanctions on North Korea, the Chinese role is important. I believe that Wen Jiabaos comment that his promises to North Korea were not contrary to the UN Security Council Resolution was a signal that China values highly the implementation of the Resolution.

Yu also spoke about the role of the other parties to the denuclearization talks and their revised understanding of North Korean tactics, saying, No matter what North Korea intends to do, five party cooperation based on the strong alliance between South Korea and the U.S. is very important when there is no clear evidence of changes in North Korea's fundamental attitude to its nuclear problems.
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