The Korea Herald


China calls for inter-Korean dialogue

By Song Sangho

Published : May 17, 2011 - 18:42

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Amb. Zhang Xinsen says Beijing mediating between North and South Korea

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Zhang Xinsen on Monday called for an early resumption of the inter-Korean dialogue to address bilateral issues and bring about peace and stability on the peninsula.

Speaking at a forum in Seoul, Zhang also stressed that the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea can provide an effective framework to help forge a durable peace system here, which will subsequently lead to a stable regional economic prosperity.

“I hope that the South and North, as they are brothers sharing the same blood, can realize their goal of reconciliation and cooperation through dialogue,” he said at the 26th Choong Cheong Forum.
Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Zhang Xinsen delivers a lecture on relations between Seoul and Beijing at the 26th Choong Cheong Forum in Seoul on Monday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald) Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Zhang Xinsen delivers a lecture on relations between Seoul and Beijing at the 26th Choong Cheong Forum in Seoul on Monday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

“Recently, China has been actively mediating. We have been seeking various talks (for the peninsular issues) and pursue a variety of tools for dialogue simultaneously (for regional peace).”

The six-nation talks involving South and North Korea, China, U.S., Russia and Japan, have been stalled since the end of 2008, aggravating economic hardships and isolation for the reclusive North. In the wake of the two deadly attacks last year that killed 50 South Koreans, top-level inter-Korean dialogue has also been discontinued.

Asked about his opinion on South Koreans’ displeasure with China’s hitherto apparently favorable stance toward the North, he said, “China has advised the South to exert restraint and seek dialogue and cooperation (with the North) for peace and stability.”

Zhang, who took office as top Chinese envoy in Seoul in March 2010, was invited to deliver a special lecture on China’s development and relations between South Korea and China.

The forum was attended by some 700 people including CCF chairman Sung Woan-jong, CEO of Keangnam Enterprise, Rep. Song Kwang-ho of the ruling Grand National Party and Rep. Jun Byung-hun of the main opposition Democratic Party.

Touching on the growing public expectation for the envisioned free trade agreement between South Korea and the two countries, he said that the two countries should quickly kick off discussions over the pact, which will enhance the welfare of the people in both nations.

“In the coming five years, the potential of the Chinese market would increase more than two fold. As the market share of South Korean products in China has been rapidly increasing, the FTA will serve as a new opportunity for bilateral cooperation,” he said.

“China’s development will be a crucial dynamo to catalyze the world’s development and offer a strong foundation for the establishment of a harmonious world. It will also serve to enhance relations between China and Korea.”

CCF chief Sung Woan-jong hoped that Korea and China could expand and enhance bilateral cooperation in a series of areas including trade, science and technology.

“I also expect China, which is now called G2 with the U.S., to realize common values of the human race and contribute to global peace and stability as a responsible global power,” he said.

The CCF is a nonprofit research group, which was established in 2000 by influential figures from the central Chungcheong region. Its members regularly gather to discuss current international and domestic issues and seek viable solutions and visions for the future.

Choong Cheong Forum has some 10 regional branches under which some 3,500 members from business, cultural and political sectors, are registered. Its key members include U.N. Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan and Seoul National University president Oh Yeon-cheon.

By Song Sang-ho (