South Korea faces a critical crossroads
this month with three major diplomatic and security issues involving North
Korea the u.s. and Japan waiting to be resolved it’s an uphill battle for Seoul
in all fronts with progress or North Korea’s denuclearization virtually
stalled defense cost-sharing negotiations with Washington’s shaking
the core of the South korea-us alliance and at rates back with a Tokyo that has
soured bilateral ties not only not only diplomatically but also economically for
an in-depth discussion on those issues dr. Zhang yup of the schedul Institute
joins me tonight thank you for coming in thanks for having me today following
North Korea’s latest activity at its main missile launch site which the North
called a great a test of great significance
the US has convened the UN Security Council to meet over North Korea’s
latest provocations what does this entail is North Korea getting closer to
Washington’s redline it is indeed looming large that the diplomatic
exchanges between two countries are getting smaller and the chances are very
narrow but I think it might be too early to give up all the hopes that we have
that there might be some chances that two countries might decide to engage in
diplomatic raise dramatically because because North Korea’s recent like
statements and the engine task that US has raised the concerns about the
possibility of North Korea actually are launched on earth ICBMs or doing another
nuclear test that is why United States wants to
convene the UN Security Council to give some warnings to North Korea that it’s
not their interest for North Korea if they indeed does another provocations
that is banned by the UN Security resolutions so I think that US wants to
have China and Russia in usi to give warning to the North Korea that it’s not
in North Korea’s interest to do that so China and Russia is warning to North
Korea is probably what the US wants during
UNSC meeting North Korea has been showing action for action response to
the u.s. in recent weeks how do you expect North Korea to react to
Washington’s call for a UN Security Council meeting so the probe there not
going to be happy about that because the reason for convening the UN
Security Council meeting is because of North Korea’s ballistic missiles and
other tests but it is only for United States to initiate any any improvement
of sanctions or to North Korea because North Korea has not really violated any
UN sanctions yet even though those ballistic missile test the seal can be
qualified as a violation of the US sanctions but politically u.s. has not
terrorized them as a violation of the UN sanctions so technically North Korea has
not really violated UN sanctions that means that it’s too early for United
States to move ahead with the imposing on other sanctions so I think the
purpose of having UNSC meeting this time is to give like one instance Korea so
maybe North Korea’s response would be not as drastic as their statements
recently so North Korea will be saved from additional sanctions for now
Pyongyang is set to hold a Workers Party Central Committee meeting later this
month what kind of announcement do you expect from the North should
Washington’s stance remain unchanged till then since we still have a like oh
about like two weeks until the Christmas and then those Koreans Christmas gift
can be wait until the Christmas Day so we don’t know what kind of development
that we are going to have in two weeks but if things are not moving in a way
that North Korea wants then those tears are one thing for sure North Korea is
going to do is that North Korea is shutting down diplomacy with the United
States and international community because there is no hope for North Korea
to getting any sanctions you live from the United States and international
community so North Korean government has to tell its people that we have to
suffer because of the older sanctions imposed by
the international community so they are going to emphasize the self-reliance and
the self economy and that is because of that imperialist like us that’s what
they are going to say in the meeting later this month if things are not
moving in the direction that they want what if nothing happens until North
Korea’s self-imposed deadline which is now just three weeks away will nuclear
talks between Pyongyang and Washington go back to square one leaving behind all
the historic summits in Singapore and in Vietnam so if nothing happens until the
end of this month then it first we have to see what kind of actions that North
Korea is going to do in in January of 2020 if their response is limited in
like verbal response like statements from Kim jong-un on the New Year’s Day
then we can still hope that there might be some room for the diplomacy but if
North Korea does does make a provocations like nuclear testing or
launching another ICBMs to the international sea or over the Japan then
it’s going to be very difficult for the u.s. accept that kind of things for the
diplomatic engagement with North Korea so that means that probe at least for
couple months in 2020 that we are we are not going to see any diplomatic
engagement between those Korea and the United States so we have to see what’s
going to happen in like three weeks until the end of this mess it’s a very
critical three weeks we are facing ahead the president moon and president Trump
held phone talks over the weekend upon president Trump’s request what do you
think the two leaders focused on Soto phone calls are reportedly occurring
before the engine tests of North Korea that they just did at Tung Chung enemies
are on the side so I think the first day share the intelligence and second
probably truly there is agree that it’s in three countries interests Korea North
Korea and the United States to prevent North Korea from a
another provocations because it’s in US interest to Kim North Korea on the track
of dialogue with the United States because it’s in political interest of
the president Trump because he has a presidential election next year so he
doesn’t want any interruptions by North Korea and for South Korea if there
something happens between u.s. and North Korea
it’s even more difficult for South Korean to pursue any inter-korean
relations improvement so from South Korean point of view it’s very urgent
for South Korea to tell North Korea that it’s not in their interest as well and
for North Korea if they makes on other provocations
now as we discussed that UN Security me UN Security Council meetings are
convened by the United States that means China and Russia has to make some
statements and China and Russia has approved all those sanctions Orton onto
North Korea and that includes automatic sanctions on North Korea by 2030 97 if
North Korea launches another long-range missiles so if North Korea does test
another long-range missiles China and Russia doesn’t have that doesn’t have
any choice but to impose on other sanctions automatically so it’s going to
be very difficult for the neighboring countries in North Asia so I think
president Trump and the press the more share that kind of idea that it’s very
urgent for two countries to disarray North Korea from making another big
provocations now you’ve briefly mentioned about
inter-korean issues what are the prospects of inter-korean talks that are
faltering at the moment so since like this time last year that North Korea
almost has shut down any dialogue with the South Korea even they refuse to
accept like humanitarian assistance from South Korean government even if South
Korean government keep trying to provide humanitarian assistance and other
materials when those Korea refused to accept it because they believe that
South Korea would do more than that which is which requires our call
to violate the UN sanctions but it’s very difficult for South Korea to do so
I think that unless there’s some like breakthrough between United States and
North Korea in terms of denuclearization talks it’s going to be very difficult
for South Korea to initiate any dialogue with North Korea or even providing
humanitarian assistance to North Koreans now to South Korea Japan trade talks
after weeks of dispute the two sides have agreed to sit down for talks next
Monday following Seoul’s decision to temporarily delay the termination of
juice Omiya do you expect some meaningful progress this time so what
Japan promises to South Korea is the process not the result of the talks that
means that even if it takes time to get the result that we want it doesn’t give
an excuse for South Korean government to terminate the G samia again so I think
we have the patient until recently we see prefer dessert I think it might be
too early to for us to expect that there are going there’s going to be some
outcomes from the first meeting that they are going to have in December so I
think either there should be a series of talks between Korea and Japan s
government about this issue in the earlier next year so we shouldn’t expect
anything dramatic from the first round of talks but rather the talks should
continue on to yield some tangible outcome now to defense cost-sharing
talks between Seoul and Washington another round is set to be held in Seoul
later this month the u.s. is reportedly asking South Korea to pay a lot more
than it does now do you expect the two sides to strike a deal within this month
I think it’s impossible for them to strike a deal in December which is the
deadline for the cost-sharing agreement so it is inevitable for extend the
period of negotiation until the early next year and we hope that the
negotiation between two countries can end soon because if it’s over like two
months extensions or three months extension that it’s going to be very
difficult to get fund for the workers in the US bases
here and the operational coast and that’s going to give some negative
signals to President Trump who are who are not like in traditional ways of
managing the alliances so I think that if the countries can make agreement
until the early next year then that the problem is that what Pradhan know what
President Trump is going to say about the alliance so we don’t we don’t have
the answer yet but I think it might be better for two countries come found
common ground of the differences because even the US team knows that it is too
much but for what they demanding South Korea to pay by five times more now now
seoul-beijing relations have somewhat warmed up following a Chinese Foreign
Minister Wang his visit to Seoul last week but one thing that also stood out
was a Wong is a strong message to the u.s. during his visit to Seoul what are
the prospects of South korea-china relations going forward amid us-china
tensions so it’s going to be very difficult for South Korea to choose one
side between the United States and China and South Korea’s position has been to
avoid making that kind of decisions and with with with heightened tensions
between the United States China wants to weaken the ties between Korea and the
United States that is why China has been using their economic tools to like bully
South Korea to make like different choices so I think one of the important
thing for Korean government to do with China is to persuade that it’s important
for China to keep like international like protocols and standards when it
comes to the trade there is what we did or when it comes to our trade issues
with the Japan and the United States so I think for South Korean government
maintaining the standard is very important when it comes to dealing with
like much bigger countries like China the blue house today announced that
president moon will head to China for the annual
korea-china-japan trilateral summit set for the 24th which is Christmas Eve what
are the key points to keep in mind during president moons visit to China so
one of the the interests that we have now is what is going to be the agenda
for the the bilateral meetings between Korea and Japan even though this is the
trilateral meetings but there are a lot of differences that three countries have
and our interest is and how we are going to amend arm and the issues between
Korea and Japan with the platform of these trilateral meetings so we don’t
know what kind of agenda has been said between two countries so we we have to
we want to resolve those forced to labor issues very soon so two countries can
improve the relations so the bilateral meetings between Korea Japan is the like
first priority for South Korean government and with the Chinese
government as we just discussed that there are other issues with regard to
the North Korea because China is the key to implementing the older sanctions or
the North Korea and China has political influence North Korea so maybe a South
Korean government wants China to play some role influencing North Korea not to
make any provocations and coming back to what reliable negotiations with the
United States as soon as possible to avoid any like diplomatic disasters in
only 2020 all right many thanks to you dr. Wu we appreciate your perspectives
thank you