Hwang Jang Yop of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea stated in a seminar on Tuesday, “As a country, it is natural for China to take care of its own interests, so it may well refuse to cooperate with South Korea in taking action against North Korea following the results of the Cheonan incident investigation.”
Hwang went on, “China is unlikely to cooperate, maybe by giving this and that excuse when South Korea tries to communicate with it on the Cheonan incident. This is due to its conventional relationship with North Korea. However, we shouldn’t criticize China for its lukewarm actions on our behalf.”
“China has taken as much action as it can, with Chinese President Hu Jintao expressing feelings of regret toward the victims of the Cheonan incident. President Hu’s moves during Kim Jong Il’s visit to Beijing also stemmed from consideration of the South Korean position,” Hwang added.
Hwang, looking at it from China’s perspective, believes there is much to be gained geopolitically and diplomatically from maintaining a cooperative relationship with North Korea, meaning that not cooperating with South Korea makes sense.
He suggested, “The best thing South Korea can do is to clearly publicize the Cheonan investigation results to the Chinese government. Even though China may not accept them immediately, gradually it may do so, and then think of reestablishing its relationship with North Korea.”
Regarding the South Korean government’s Cheonan incident countermeasures, Hwang stated, “Immediate military retaliation will not benefit us. We need to put in place an effective policy which influences domestic and international frontiers.” He added, “In the event of additional provocations from North Korea we will need to pay them back, but that must of course be backed by Chinese agreement and close prior consultation and cooperation with the U.S. and Japan. After that, China will not be able to continue siding only with North Korea.”
In terms of strengthening our relationship with China, we should conclude the ROK-China FTA, while lending our support to Chinese domestic affairs with regards to democracy and globalization, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Hwang also commented on the recent activities of North Korea’s General Bureau of Reconnaissance, calling it a part of “the core military strength of North Korea acting on the direct orders of Kim Jong Il,” and emphasizing, “Kim Jong Il values specialized military strength more than nuclear weapons.”
“Kim Jong Il’s goal is to produce hundreds of thousands of agents for the special duty of infiltrating South Korea, and he will spare no support for such units,” Hwang explained.
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