Park starts China summit on North

AFP-JIJI

South Korean President Park Gyen-hye arrived in China on Thursday for summit talks to be dominated by North Korea’s nuclear program, seeking to push Beijing to do more to bring its wayward ally to heel.

“(Park) arrived in Beijing to start a four-day visit,” state broadcaster CCTV said on an official news microblog.

Park, who was to meet counterpart Xi Jinping later Thursday, has said that her priority will be to “harden” China-South Korea cooperation on pressing for the North’s denuclearization.

Washington and Seoul have made it clear they will never accept the idea of North Korea as a nuclear state, and insist Pyongyang must show a tangible commitment to abandoning its nuclear weapons if it wants substantive talks. Both have pressured China — North Korea’s sole major ally and economic lifeline — to use all its leverage to rein in the hermit country.

Park is hoping her visit, which will be anxiously monitored by Pyongyang, will yield a strong joint statement that commits both Seoul and Beijing to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, but China is unlikely to go much further, said Choi Woo-seon at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul.