Before their meeting on March 29, ROK Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (left) and Ri Son-gwon, head of the DPRK delegation, shake hands.[Photo/Korea Pool/Yonhap/AP]
China welcomed news that the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have set a date for their leaders’ summit, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a news conference on March 29 after the two agreed to hold the third inter-Korean summit on April 27.
Lu said China appreciated their efforts to reach such a point.
The summit is set to be held in the border truce village of Panmunjom. It will be the first meeting between leaders of the two sides in 11 years, and DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un will become the country’s first leader to set foot in the ROK since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice.
Lu said China is always happy to see dialogue between the two sides to improve mutual relations and promote reconciliation and cooperation, which serves their common interest. It will ease tensions on the peninsula as well as advance regional peace and stability, Lu said.
“It is obvious to all that China has always insisted and promoted dialogue on the issue,” Lu said, adding that China hopes to maintain the momentum of dialogue and peace, calling for relevant parties to support the improved inter-Korean relations.
ROK Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, one of the three participants from Seoul in talks on March 29, said setting up the summit for the leaders to discuss ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula was a critical point, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, who led the DPRK delegation on March 29, said the past 80 days have been filled with “unprecedented historic events” and that he hopes for an outcome that would meet the “hope and desire of the nation”.
Su Xiaohui, a researcher on international strategy at the China Institute of International Studies, said the current dawn of peace on the Korean Peninsula is inextricably linked to China’s efforts on the matter.
Su said China has made great efforts to push for dialogue and negotiations. It is difficult for sanctions alone to achieve denuclearization and the pressure arising from sanctions should be translated into motivation for negotiations.
The first and second inter-Korean summits were held in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007. The ROK and the DPRK said they will hold another preparatory meeting on April 4 to discuss protocol, security and media coverage for the summit, according to a joint statement released by the two countries.