Presidents Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Barack Obama of the United States (US) agreed on April 25, 2014 to further strengthen the ROK-US cooperation in the face of increasing nuclear threat posed by North Korea. Presidents Park and Obama is scheduled to visit the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (ROKUSCFC) together on April 26, 2014 and show their determination to cooperate more closely to cope with North Korea. The joint visit of the Presidents of the two countries to the ROKUSCFC takes place for the first time since the establishment of the CFC in 1978. (For related stories, pix please visit /news/view.html?section=158&category=167&no=513.)
Following her telephone conversation with President Xi Jinping earlier on April 23, 2014, President Park said, “If North Korea should carry out the 4th nuclear test it would fundamentally shake up the security picture of the Northeast Asian region and would ignite a hot nuclear arms race among the neighboring countries.” To China who is most active in the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, President Park warned, “Such a situation would make meaningless the efforts made to find a solution through the use of the Six-Party Talks, and turn them into mere water bubbles.”
A ‘Nuclear Domino Phenomenon’ in the Northeast Asian Region is a situation which not only China but also the US hope would not happen. If North Korea should carry out its new nuclear test, it could give Japan justification to start its nuclear armament and this would deal the worst blow to China who wants to concentrate her efforts on economic development.
In the Republic of Korea (South), too, there are strong possibilities of proliferation of the increasing assertions for an independent nuclear armament which is advocated by people such as Rep. Chung Mong-joon, a leader of the ruling Saenuri Party.
(Rep. Chung is currently vying for the ruling Saenuri Party candidacy for the Seoul mayoral election slated on June 4, 2014, and expected to run also for the 2017 Presidential election in Korea. Chung is actively promoting the ROK’s development of nuclear weapons on its own on the strength of the overwhelming support of the people shown in public opinion polls which indicate that 64% of the people support independent nuclear armament vis-?-vis 28% against it. Recent opinion polls show Chung and Co-Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo of the main united opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy [NPAD] on a par as the most desired Presidential candidate for the 2014 race.)
President Park’s statement on that day is viewed as a strong warning urging China to more strongly press North Korea with a determination to burn its ships to cut off any means of retreat. President Park used an old Chinese phrase Beishuizhen (背水陣) where in olden times in China a famous general Hanxin (韓信) fought with the river in the back, and won the battle.
President Park said, “I am expecting that China would take a strong measure to North Korea at a decisive moment because China’s influence on North Korea is very strong as the North is 90% reliant on China in foreign trade and more than 80% in economic assistance and support.”
President Obama, on his part, said that the recent attitude of China is encouraging and that China has recently awakened itself to the reality that North Korea is a very big problem to the security of China. Then he said that this was why the US has been urging China to increase its influence on North Korea. Obama said, “If North Korea should make more provocations, we will try to find an additional measure of sanction.”