International News

China ‘backs North Korean efforts for denuclearization’

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi says his country fully supports North Korea’s efforts to bring about denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, some two weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared that Pyongyang would suspend its nuclear and missile tests and dismantle a nuclear test site.
The Chinese foreign minister made the remark during a meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang during a rare visit to the North on Wednesday.
“China is willing to strengthen communication with North Korea and continue to play a positive role in seeking a political solution to the Korean Peninsula issue,” Wang said.
On April 20, Kim said his country’s quest for missile and nuclear weapons capability was “complete” and it “no longer needs” to test its weapons capabilities. He said he would thus suspend such tests and also shut down a site where the country had conducted its previous six nuclear tests. He said the measures were aimed at pursuing economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
World leaders around the globe, including those of the United States and South Korea, hailed Kim’s decision to suspend the tests, which have drawn harsh sanctions from both the US and the United Nations.
The visit to North Korea by the Chinese foreign minister came amid a wave of diplomacy that offers hope to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang’s biggest diplomatic feat so far is the sudden betterment of relations with South Korea — a long-time adversary that fought a war with the North in the early 1950s.
Furthermore, then-CIA chief and now-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also earlier secretly visited Pyongyang and met with Kim, and a summit is also being planned to be held between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump in May or June.
Pompeo said on Wednesday that North Korea would have to completely dismantle what he called its “weapons of mass destruction program.”
It is not clear if Pyongyang would agree to such a demand.
During a historic summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the two leaders signed a joint declaration, dubbed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.” In it, while they “confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” no commitment was made by the North Korean state to dismantle its weapons programs, including its nuclear weapons.
Wang also said that Beijing would also fully supported Pyongyang’s decision to concentrate its efforts on economic development instead of developing nuclear arms and ballistic missiles. However, he also said that China appreciated North Korea’s “reasonable and legitimate security concerns.”
Referring to the upcoming meeting between Kim and Trump, Wang said Beijing hoped “the dialog between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States will be conducted successfully and that substantial progress will be made.”
Meanwhile, a brief statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Wang also met with Kim on the second day of his two-day visit to the North.