11/16/2012, 00.00
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Korea congratulates Xi Jinping (and waits)

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
Pyongyang sends a long, enthusiastic message to the new leader of China. Seoul sends greetings, but waits for the new president to decide which way to go. A source tells AsiaNews: "Kim Jong-un wants to reopen negotiations with China and obtain better conditions than those imposed by Hu Jintao."

Seoul (AsiaNews) - Xi Jinping's coronation as leader of the Communist Party and the nation has sparked (formal) enthusiasm from chancelleries worldwide. With regard to the Korean peninsula, both countries have expressed their congratulations to the new leader with different goals in mind.

The new leader of North Korea has sent a formal message of great respect: "The fact that you have become Secretary-General and Director of the Military Commission is an expression of deep respect and high expectations on the part of all members of the Party, service personnel and people of China, especially in a time when the socialist modernization of the Chinese people enters into a new phase".

Kim Jong-un, a source tells AsiaNews, "chose these formulas to indicate the need for North Korea to maintain close ties with the only partner it has left. Hu Jintao, who has apparently been set aside, had placed many conditions on continuing to support Pyongyang in terms of economic and military power, and now Kim hopes that Xi can at least restart negotiations".

Unlike the attitude of Seoul:  Lee Myung-bak's government has also sent a congratulatory message, but South Korea is really waiting for their own presidential elections to see who will rise to power and then what attitude he or she will take with Beijing. If the conservative candidate, Park Geun-hye, wins observers expect a tense mandate based on commercial contrast, the position of the Democratic candidates instead tends towards a dialogue less focused on commercial issues and more on industrial exchange.

In any case, the source concludes, "certainly the rise to power of Xi Jinping will also influence the South Korean elections. China is too close and too large to be ignored, and trade and economic growth in Asia for now depends on Beijing. Hopefully the new Politburo has very clearly understood this responsibility. "

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