Tue, Mar 13, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Seoul praises Xi’s role in nudging N Korea to talks


Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, second right, meets yesterday with South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong, second left, and South Korean Ambassador to China Noh Young-min, left, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

Photo: EPA-EFE

South Korea’s national security director yesterday praised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) role in nudging North Korea toward denuclearization talks, following word of a possible summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Meeting with Xi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Chung Eui-yong said the situation on the Korean Peninsula had recently “undergone very positive changes.”

“[South Korean] President Moon Jae-in believes that the leadership of the Chinese government, especially the leadership ability of President Xi, has played a big role in this,” Chung said.

“That we were able to get to this stage shows China has played an important role,” he said. “Once again, we expect that China will continue to play an active and leading role, and the South Korean government will continue to coordinate closely with China.”

Xi told Chung the peninsula was “facing an important opportunity of mitigation and dialogue,” according to China Central Television.

He referred both to a potential Trump-Kim summit and talks between Moon and Kim scheduled for next month at a truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries.

“We are looking forward to the smooth holding of the summit meeting between the two Koreas and the dialogue between North Korea and the US, and achieving concrete progress in promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the normalization of relations between each other,” Xi said.

“As long as all sides can focus on the fundamental goals of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability, a day of the melting of the hard ice and the blossom of the spring flowers will be seen on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

Chung made comments similar to those he delivered to Xi in an earlier meeting with Chinese State Counselor Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), who told his visitor that China insists on all parties “sticking to solving the issue through dialogue and consultation.”

Chung last week announced that Trump said he would meet Kim by May “to achieve permanent denuclearization” of the peninsula.

Chung said Kim told the South Koreans during talks in Pyongyang last week that he is “committed to denuclearization” and pledged that “North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”

South Korean National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon was also visiting Japan to brief officials there on the progress in talks.

Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono told Suh that the situation on the peninsula was a near “miracle,” a spokesman of South Korea’s presidential Blue House said.

Kono said that he was grateful for Seoul’s efforts that brought a turnaround in the tense situation, the spokesman said in a statement.

Suh is scheduled to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga today.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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