SEOUL, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- South Korea and China are independently pursuing a return to dialogue on North Korea denuclearization, and Beijing is taking steps that could be a warning to Pyongyang against future rocket launches.
Beijing's Foreign Ministry announced Monday that the China Institute of International Studies is to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 19 Joint Statement on denuclearization with a nuclear seminar, Yonhap reported.
The 2005 statement was a pledge that reaffirmed North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia were committed to the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Since the signing of the agreement, however, North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons development and missile launches.
The seminar is to be attended by scholars and diplomats, and Pyongyang's chief negotiator is not required to be in attendance, according to an unidentified diplomatic source in Beijing. Another source at the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Kim Gon, the North Korean deputy representative, is expected to participate in a "personal capacity."
China has expressed its opposition to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons development and may be holding the seminar in a signal to North Korea that it stands against any rocket launches that would take place around the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party on Oct. 10.
The pressure on Pyongyang to give up nuclear development is building on all sides – South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo reported Seoul's chief negotiator to the six-party talks, Hwang Joon-kook, is scheduled to meet with Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy for the six-party talks Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
The six-party talks have been stalled due to North Korean refusal to participate in dialogue, and Washington has not pushed further for dialogue. China and South Korea have expressed commitment to the resumption of talks, but China has yet to persuade North Korea to return.