By Alex Jensen
South Korean President Park Geun-hye suggested resuming multilateral talks on North Korea's rogue nuclear weapon ambitions Friday, in an apparent effort to reach an understanding with China and Russia.
The United States and Japan have been on much the same page as Seoul in pushing for tougher sanctions against Pyongyang for its claimed hydrogen bomb test earlier this month.
North Korea abandoned six-party nuclear disarmament talks around seven years ago – aside from Pyongyang, the other parties represented were Seoul, Washington, Tokyo, Beijing and Moscow.
"We should find various and creative approaches, including attempting to hold five-way talks excluding North Korea," Park was quoted as telling officials by local news agency Yonhap.
While the United Nations Security Council appears set to punish the North for its latest nuclear test, both China and Russia have the power to block strict sanctions – and the indications have been that they will exercise that authority.
Even so, Park reiterated a consistent message out of South Korea regarding the role of Beijing, a key North Korean partner.
"I expect China to take effective measures to make sure North Korea can recognize that the development of its nuclear program is useless, and come to the international community like Iran," Park insisted.
The South Korean president was also briefed by related government ministries, as it became clear that Seoul's focus would move away from last year's policy of cooperation and dialogue with Pyongyang – and towards punishment.