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China key to peace process, stability of the peninsula

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This combination of handout pictures released by The Singapore Mint on Tuesday shows the design of gold-plated commemorative medallions depicting a handshake with images of the US and North Korean national flags on one side and an inscription 'World Peace' with the image of the US and North Korean national flowers - roses and magnolias, on the other side. Singapore will strike commemorative medallions to mark the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the city-state next week. Photo: AFP


It remains to be seen whether a trilateral declaration on ending the Korean Peninsula's state of war will be announced in the Singapore summit and all relevant parties have ramped up preparations a week ahead of the summit, experts said, adding that China is essential to the peninsula peace process.

South Korea's presidential office - the Blue House - welcomed the forthcoming summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying it sincerely hopes for the success of the historic meeting, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The Blue House also noted that South Korea will continue to seek a formal end to the war but that such a move would depend on the success of the US-North Korea summit.

But Seoul's desire for the end of the state of war depends on successful dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

"The South Korean government is playing down hopes for a peace declaration at the Trump-Kim summit since it knows that the feud between the US and North Korea cannot be solved in one meeting. And the South still has disputes with the North, especially on US-South Korea military drills," Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

South Korea is closely observing whether negotiations between the US and North Korea will require President Moon Jae-in to go to Singapore to join Trump and Kim in declaring an end to the Korean War, with a 50/50 chance of a trilateral meeting in Singapore, Hwang Jaeho, a professor at the Division of International Studies of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Hwang said that if the trilateral meeting could not be held in Singapore, there will soon be a meeting among China, the US, South Korea and North Korea.

Lü said that China is indispensable to a Korean Peninsula peace treaty as well as regional stability.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily briefing on Tuesday that China has noticed the US and North Korea are closely communicating on the summit and making progress. And China hopes the two sides could cherish the current achievements and make efforts to promote the settlement of Korean Peninsula issues.

Crunch time

With a week to go before the Kim-Trump summit, all relevant parties, including the US, North Korea and Singapore, are ramping up preparations for the historic meeting.

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet at 9 am on June 12 in Singapore, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quoted as saying by the Bloomberg on Monday.

She said that the White House "advance team" - which includes military security, technical and medical staff - was already on the ground in Singapore, the Guardian reported.

The Singapore government said in a statement on Sunday that from June 10 to 14, it will designate a "special event area" near the five-star Shangri-La Hotel, which is widely expected to host the Kim-Trump summit on June 12.

Shangri-La was rumored as the possible Trump-Kim summit venue because the hotel has been the first choice for Singapore for hosting international conferences, with its excellent security and experience, experts said.

In an email sent to the Global Times on Tuesday, Shangri-La hotel said it wasn't in a position to comment on matters related to the US-North Korea summit.

Lü said Singapore needs to make the utmost effort on security to ensure a smooth Kim-Trump summit, and that China would also fully support North Korea's possible request for a stopover, considering the long flight from North Korea to Singapore.

Kim is also reportedly making preparations for the summit. Reuters reported that Pyongyang has reshuffled its top military leaders before the Singapore summit, which provided a hint of possible power politics within North Korea and the complexity of managing domestic and foreign policy.

Hwang told the Global Times on Tuesday that the changes within North Korea's senior ranks show that Kim might be facing resistance to his meeting with Trump. But the Kim-Trump summit in Singapore  may yield some progress with both sides compromising.



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