China, Russia, South Korea, the United States and Japan entered a discussion Tuesday, Mar. 1, on de-escelation and stability on the Korean peninsula.
The countries present said their overall goal was peace and stability, especially with North Korea, which declined to attend the talks because it did not want to sit down with South Korea until the country lowers its forces to REDCON 3, according to a North Korean news release.
Representatives from China spoke on behalf of North Korea, saying the country was not ruling out talks, but wanted to speak with South Korea first with no outsiders present.
South Korea said it was disappointed North Korea did not attend the talks and wanted to work out contingencies for private discussions. South Korea proposed reconvening and issuing another invitation to North Korea.
“If they don’t show up, it shows a lack of interest,” said a South Korean representative. “North Korea needs to show goodwill.”
Chinese representatives asked the other countries present to refrain from building up their military forces. The countries agreed to halt escalation at the moment pending further talks with North Korea.
“We have always exercised restraint, and we have shown a commitment to peace already,” a South Korean representative said, referencing the country’s agreement to the talks. South Korea also said it had to look out for its national defense; if provoked the representatives said the country would have to respond.
Russia said if the military situation were to escalate, it would side with the U.S. in its aid of South Korea.
Russia expressed a desire to keep its border open in an effort to provide direct assistance to North Korea. Russia said the aid would be to help North Korea with the radiation.
“I wouldn’t say its an incentive package,” a Russian representative said.
China also proposed offering humanitarian aid to North Korea. “We are in a great position to help sway thinking,” a Chinese representative said. “We provide some of their greatest aid.”
China said the radiation cloud had not reached China yet, but the
radiation was spreading around the world. It showed concern for the health of North Korean citizens.
Previously, the United States had offered medical assistance to North Korea and confirmed this is still the country’s position.
China said it wants to keep the lines of communication open so all countries can be prepared for the worst and best case scenarios.
“The six party talks were intended to be a negotiation with North Korea,” a Chinese representative said. “The upside of this allows us to express commitment.”
The countries dismissed with plans to hold another Six Party talk.
“Hopefully with North Korea present,” said a South Korean representative.