Why It Matters

Dialogue over North Korea vital

The leaders of North-east Asia were united last week on the need to completely denuclearise North Korea, though their stark divide on how to do so remains telling. China and South Korea prefer a more reconciliatory path, but Japan continues to stress maximum pressure.

The three countries' joint declaration left out the phrase "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" that Tokyo wanted. Seoul and Beijing had felt this would pour cold water on peace efforts. Even so, it is significant that the three countries - along with the United States - are talking, and in such frequency.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 14, 2018, with the headline 'Dialogue over N. Korea vital'. Print Edition | Subscribe