Speaking to the World

June 29, 2018
Editor: Wang Yue
Fu gives a speech at the launch of the book at Tsinghua University in Beijing on June 6. [China Daily]

 

Empathy is the key to resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, China's former vice-foreign minister, Fu Ying, stated ahead of the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and Democratic People's Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong-un on June 12.

It's an outlook that becomes clear in her book, A Dialogue with the World, featuring 40 speeches and essays by the seasoned diplomat, released at Beijing's Tsinghua University about a week before the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.

In the essay published a day before the summit in World-Post, a partnership of the Berggruen Institute and The Washington Post, she points out the DPRK's national and regime security are its priorities when deciding on nuclear development or abandonment.

However, the US' detailed requirements on a frontloaded denuclearization may not have taken Pyongyang's concerns into full consideration.

So, it's important that both parties step into the other's shoes for a moment.

Meanwhile, China's firm commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula reached through peaceful means has remained consistent.

Fu has been keeping a close eye on the issue for years. She was personally involved in the multiparty efforts at the early stages, through which the Three-Party Talks evolved into the Six-Party Talks and then broke down.

Her article, The Korean Nuclear Issue: Past, Present and Future, released by the John L. Thornton China Center of the US think tank the Brookings Institution in April 2017, is of great help in understanding the nuclear issue.

The article chronologically summarizes progress since the signing of the Korean War armistice in July 1953 to the time when the US and the Republic of Korea announced the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in ROK in July 2016.

It also details China's actions since it started to mediate the issue and host talks in 2003 to the time of the China-US summit in Florida and the first round of the China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in June 2017.

During the latter event, China further explained to the US its proposal of "double suspension". This, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says, proposed that the DPRK suspends its missile and nuclear activities in exchange for a halting of large-scale US-ROK military exercises, as well as a dual-track approach to denuclearizing the peninsula while establishing a peace mechanism.

China also reiterated its opposition to the deployment of THAAD at the event.

Fu's new book elaborates upon her responses to hot-button issues, including Sino-US relations, situations concerning the South China Sea and China's preference for an international-rather than a world-order. But Fu confesses some of the viewpoints have changed over time.

Wang Jisi, director of Peking University's Institute of International and Strategic Studies, says it's important that China sticks to its general diplomatic principles and sustains its diplomatic resolve-and this outlook is apparent in Fu's anthology.

Fu has an educational background in English and international relations. The 65-year-old served as the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, Australia and the United Kingdom from 1998 to 2009.

She became China's vice-foreign minister in 2009. And she served as spokeswoman of the National People's Congress from 2013 to 2017.

Fu says the questions she has been frequently asked during her four-decade diplomatic career include: What kind of country does China want to be? What does China want from the world? What does China bring to the world?

Encountering these questions made Fu realize the world wants to know more about China's economic growth and political system, and what its people think.

"China is bringing changes to the world through making changes in China. We need to better interpret ourselves so as to convince the world," Fu writes in her book's preface.

That China's development is reshaping the world calls for the cultivation of a more sensitive perception of changes outside the country, she says.

Fu is astute at revealing that deeper truths lie beyond what looks simple on the surface, according to Tsinghua University's vice-president Yang Bin.

In the article, Fu clarifies how China has mediated between the US and the DPRK.

She explains the obstacles to peace talks and indicates how the US had missed earlier opportunities for peaceful negotiations.

It helps readers understand China's position and its further efforts, Fu mentioned at the book launch on June 6.

Fu says that the strategy of a big power in a globalized world will be successful only when it conforms to the trends and is accepted by other countries and their people.

"China should improve its awareness and the way of communication with the world, so as to reduce misunderstandings and miscalculations," Fu says.

Tsinghua University economist Li Daokui, who's a former central bank monetary policy committee member, believes nothing is more persuasive than true stories-whether positive or negative.

"Sense and sensibility make a good argument," Li says.

"This is the key value of Fu's new book. It's able to reach Westerners because it introduces China's situation partly using their way of narrating."

An English-language version of the book is in the works.

China Citic Press' editor-in-chief, Qiao Weibing, says Fu will release another book about her experiences as the NPC's spokeswoman soon.

 

A Dialogue with the World by Fu Ying. [China Daily]
Fu gives a speech at the launch of the book at Tsinghua University in Beijing on June 6. [China Daily]

 

(Source: China Daily)

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