by Yoo Seungki
SEOUL, April 26 (Xinhua) -- China's initiatives of double suspension and dual-track approach are the best idea, until now, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and build peace, said an influential South Korean lawmaker who counsels President Moon Jae-in on the third summit with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a member of the presidential elder advisory group.
"Double suspension and dual-track approach, proposed by China, are the best idea ... I actively support those ideas," Rep. Park Jie-won of the Party for Democracy and Peace said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Park is a former chief of staff for late President Kim Dae-jung who held the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of current leader Kim Jong Un, in 2000 in Pyongyang. Park officially and unofficially contacted DPRK officials in early 2000 to arrange the first summit as a culture minister at the time.
Moon is set to hold the third summit with Kim, the current DPRK leader, at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday. It is expected to be followed by a summit in May or early June between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The double suspension, which requires the DPRK to halt nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale South Korea-U.S. military exercises, is being unfolded on the peninsula as Pyongyang paused such tests this year while the South Korea-U.S. springtime war games were reduced in scale and shortened in period.
The dual-track approach, which pursues the peninsula's denuclearization and the establishment of peaceful mechanism on the Korean Peninsula, is being pushed for as Kim indicated the denuclearization up for negotiation during the inter-Korean and DPRK-U.S. summits while the Blue House of South Korea is reviewing ways to turn the armistice agreement into a peace regime.
The double suspension was demanded by the DPRK in 2015 and 2016, while the dual-track approach was reflected in the Joint Statement, signed on Sept. 19, 2005 after the six-party talks in Beijing to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, build a permanent peace, and normalize ties between the DPRK and the United States.
"Regarding North Korea's nuclear issue, China is one of the biggest parties directly concerned. The denuclearization talks cannot succeed without China," said Park.
The Korean Armistice Agreement, which paused the 1950-53 Korean War, was signed on July 27, 1953. The peninsula remains technically at war without any peace treaty inked.
Seoul and Pyongyang already agreed to push the meeting among leaders of three or four parties directly concerned to declare a formal end to the war.
It was written in the Oct. 4 Joint Declaration, which was signed in 2007 by then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then DPRK leader Kim Jong Il after the second inter-Korean summit.
Park, who accompanied then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in 2000 to Pyongyang for the first inter-Korean summit and had unofficially visited Pyongyang several times, said the third summit would be successful as it serves as a stepping stone to the DPRK-U.S. summit in which denuclearization is to be a key agenda.
Kim Jong Un, the top DPRK leader, said his country will commit to denuclearization talks.
What should be cautious preparing for the summits, Park said, is the difference between Pyongyang and Washington in defining denuclearization. The DPRK wants the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while the United States wants the denuclearization of the DPRK, he noted.
What the lawmaker sees as the most important in the denuclearization process is building trust between the DPRK and the United States. For the DPRK-U.S. trust building, Park proposed a three-stage way of denuclearization.
The first is to put a moratorium on the DPRK's nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the U.S. halt of sanctions. The second is to freeze the DPRK's nuclear program in return for its establishment of diplomatic ties with the United States and a peace treaty on the peninsula.
During the freezing process in which the DPRK returns to the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and is inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency while the U.S. side lifts sanctions, Pyongyang and Washington can build trust and eventually leads to a complete denuclearization, said Park.