South Korea’s main concern appears to be that Obama does not acquiesce to Hu’s call for six-party talks without the South’s full agreement – and without concessions on the part of North Korea.
Seoul, South Korea
In anticipation of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s arrival in Washington for Wednesday’s summit with President Obama, South Korean officials are digging in against North Korea’s demands for six-party talks.
South Korea’s main concern appears to be that Mr. Obama will acquiesce to Mr. Hu’s call for six-party talks without the South’s full agreement – and without any substantive concessions on the part of North Korea.
Given that the US appears open to renewing dialogue, however, it’s far from clear how forcefully or how long South Korea will be able to resist talks it believes have no chance of getting North Korea to do away with its nuclear program.
“We all know North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons,” says Choi Jin-wook, senior North Korea analyst at the Korea Institute of National Unification, ”but still, we should talk to North Korea in an international format.”
The reason is that “six-party talks are not just for the nuclear issue but to ease tensions,” says Mr. Choi. "North Korea is desperate to talk to Washington. That’s why Washington wants to meet, and Seoul doesn’t want to meet.”