South Korea wants India’s help in tensions with North Korea | world-news | Hindustan Times
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South Korea wants India’s help in tensions with North Korea

The new government in Seoul hopes to be a partner in Make in India, smart cities, infrastructure projects and defence.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2017 22:03 IST
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri
People walk in front of an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shown on a large screen as a TV news reports the North Korea's missile test which landed in the waters of Japan's economic zone, in Tokyo.
People walk in front of an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shown on a large screen as a TV news reports the North Korea's missile test which landed in the waters of Japan's economic zone, in Tokyo. (AP)

Changing the mindset of North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un needs concerted efforts by all international players, including India, said Enna Park, South Korea’s ambassador for public diplomacy.

Park also spoke about how the new government in Seoul hoped to be a partner in Make in India, the smart cities and other infrastructure projects, and in defence.

North Korea’s maverick ruler, Kim Jong-un, she said, was more dangerous than his father. The latter was prepared to negotiate about the end of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. But the son wants his country to be “recognised as a nuclear weapons state” and that denuclearisation is not negotiable.

Kim’s intention is to use his ability to threaten the US and the region to get leverage with Washington. He wants to offer to “freeze his nuclear programme” in return for economic assistance, regime guarantees and a peace treaty with the US. The ambassador said, “I don’t think the Americans will accept. [President] Trump has said he will not allow this to happen.” But the new Seoul government wants a dialogue with Pyongyang as “sanctions cannot be the only policy”.

As for China, she said, “it must recognise that if it allows North Korea to continue its nuclear programme, the whole region will placed in jeopardy.”

The US is pushing China to play a constructive role because it is the only country with “effective leverage” on North Korea. She denied that the new Seoul regime was not going to reverse an earlier decision to allow a US theatre missile defence system. “The decision will not be change, but due process has to be followed,” she said.

Park has come to India following the election victory of South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, and the impeachment of his predecessor. Seoul is seeking to have a “special strategic partnership” with New Delhi that would include more regular summit-level meetings, talks between the foreign and defence ministries of the two countries, a dialogue of the national security councils and a closer partnership in foreign aid in third countries.

“South Korea would be a most effective partner to work with when it comes to Make in India as it is particularly strong in manufacturing,” she said. Of Korea’s $ 5.8 billion of FDI in India, $ 3.4 billion was in manufacturing. She noted her country had already built a number of smart cities and South Korean firms were looking for partners to upgrade India’s railroad stations and construct high-speed trains.

A framework agreement for a $ 10 billion fund in concessional loans to build infrastructure has been agreed upon by the two finance ministers.

She said President Moon Jae-in’s government was dedicated to a foreign policy more embedded in the democratic process. The previous Seoul government carried out foreign policy without any public consultation. “We are practising people’s diplomacy,” and our decisions will be a two-way street with our public.”