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Pacific Dialogue: The China Factor in the Historic Kim-Trump Summit
 

Top leaders of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States, Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, finally met on June 12 in Singapore.

This historic event surprised its audience as there was no "fire and fury." Both Kim and Trump seemed reasonable and agreeable.

In a harmonious atmosphere, a meeting between DPRK and U.S. leaders, which sounded like crazy talk just weeks ago, became a fact.

But how did this come about?

People may find a clue from the following facts. Kim visited China twice this year just before meeting with Trump. Moreover, the DPRK leader landed in Singapore in an Air China airplane instead of his own jet.

The answer is quite clear. China has played a crucial role in making this meeting happen.

As a vital stakeholder of Korean Peninsula issues, China has been calling for direct face-to-face talks between Pyongyang and Washington for years.

China believes the large U.S. troop presence on the peninsula and the U.S. refusal to normalize relations with the DPRK led Pyongyang to pursue a nuclear program in the first place.

China saw this simple logic long ago. Therefore, it has repeatedly said the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula needed to be resolved by these two countries and called on the two parties to sit down and hold direct talks.

In pushing forward DPRK-U.S. exchanges, China's role is like a "guarantor" of the safety of the DPRK. China also needs to make sure the DPRK's denuclearization coincides with Washington's aim.

To reach this end, China has put forward concrete proposals--dual suspension and a dual-track approach.

Dual suspension means Pyongyang will suspend its nuclear and missile tests in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) war games.

The dual-track approach means denuclearizing the peninsula on the one hand and establishing a peace mechanism on the other.

Such proposals were in fact adopted by both the DPRK and the U.S. at the recent summit.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China has worked for more than two decades to realize peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Back on the streets, we asked people who they thought gained the upper hand in the negotiations.

From their answers, it seems clear to many that China, the DPRK, and the ROK are aiming for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

But what about the U.S.? All eyes are on Washington now to see if it also wants peace after the Kim-Trump summit.

Comments to liuyunyun@bjreview.com 

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