However, Ju Chul-ki, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security, said in a briefing, “It has not been determined whether Park will attend a military parade in Beijing.” adding, “We are reviewing the matter of attending the parade still”.
But Kim eventually didn’t go and sent his parliament head to the event that marked the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
China plans to hold a series of events to commemorate the anniversary, including a lavish military parade featuring aerial displays and its latest weapons. Such a visit “is a great opportunity for her to play a balancing role in finding a breakthrough in issues related to North Korea”, Moon Jae-in, NPAD chairman, said. China and South Korea already have strong trade ties, and Seoul wants Beijing to exercise its considerable leverage over Pyongyang to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. By contrast, the only leaders who have confirmed their attendance are from members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Park is also due to visit the U.S.in October, having previously played down suggestions that Seoul has to choose between Beijing and Washington. He was invited to a World War II ceremony in Moscow earlier this year, but did not attend.
The announcement on Thursday put an end to speculation over Park’s attendance and the possible diplomatic wrangling behind that decision. “The struggle against Japan meant the same thing for China and for Korea”, said Wang Junsheng, an expert on the South Korean peninsula for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, during a telephone interview with the Hankyoreh.
China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly emphasized that the event is to remind people of the importance of peace.
Park’s office said in a statement she will attend a September 3 anniversary ceremony.
It remains unknown whether any North Korean official will attend the September 3 event.
The Korean independent fighters resisted against the Imperial Japan together with Chinese patriots during Japan’s colonial era from 1910 to 1945.