Feeling slighted: China asserts its role in ‘peace regime’ for the Korean peninsula

by WorldTribune Staff, May 2, 2018

China on May 2 vowed to play a role in the “peace regime” between North and South Korea that has been dominated by the U.S. administration of Donald Trump.

Beijing reiterated its stance that the process calls for an end to U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises along with the freezing of North Korea’s weapons tests.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. / AP

Analysts say the Chinese Communist Party is unhappy at being sidelined in a process in which it has traditionally been relied upon by the West to bring pressure on the North Korean regime.

“China is guarding the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula all the time. … The temporary truce system should be replaced with a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” Hua Chunying, spokeswoman at the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a press briefing. “China wants each country to work toward the goal through dialogue and negotiation.”

Beijing “will continue to play its due role for the establishment of a peace system on the peninsula,” Hua said.

Asked to elaborate on that role, the spokeswoman referred to China’s previous proposal for a “freeze-for-freeze” process in which joint military exercises on the South Korea-U.S. side would be halted and weapons tests on the North Korean side would end.

Related: Overlooked: China sends military plane into KADIZ one day after summit, May 1, 2017

Hua also recalled China’s formal suggestion that the U.S. allow a peace treaty with North Korea in return for the latter’s denuclearization.

“The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a peace regime should be pursued simultaneously so as to eventually realize permanent stability on the peninsula and the surrounding region,” she said.

Meanwhile, a South Korean activist has reported that North Korea has relocated three American detainees from a labor camp to a hotel on the outskirts of Pyongyang ahead of a planned summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, Yonhap reported on May 2.

The U.S. citizens – Kim Hak-Song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-Chul – were moved in early April following instructions from authorities, said Choi Sung-Yong, head of a group for families of South Koreans abducted by North Korea, citing a resident in Pyongyang.

The detainees have been accused of espionage or “hostile acts.”

Last year, Otto Warmbier, an American college student who was arrested in North Korea for allegedly removing a political poster from a hotel in Pyongyang, died shortly after being returned to the U.S. in a coma.

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