News ID: 191093
Published: 0627 GMT April 18, 2017

China says US wants talks on North Korea

China says US wants talks on North Korea

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a new appeal for calm on the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday and said he believes the United States would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the standoff.

Wang told reporters that although US officials have made clear that a military strike remains on the table, he believes that Washington would still prefer to deescalate tensions through multisided talks, AP reported.

Wang's comments came amid a mounting war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. After US Vice President Mike Pence visited the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea on Monday and warned that "all options are on the table," a senior North Korean official responded by accusing the United States of bringing the countries to the brink of thermonuclear war.

"We know the situation is tense," Wang said. "The more tense things are, the more calm we need to be to find the opportunities and possibilities for dialogue."

China has called for a return to multisided talks that ended in a stalemate in 2009, during the rule of North Korea's previous leader, Kim Jong-il.

Since entering office, President Donald Trump, like his predecessor, Barack Obama, has pressed China to use its political and economic leverage over North Korea, its once-close ally.

In a sign of Beijing's hardening attitude, the Global Times, a state-run tabloid, said in an editorial on Monday that China could enforce "stricter measures" against North Korea, including a ban on oil exports, or join a US-led effort to block the North's access to international financial markets.

Wang, the foreign minister, declined on Tuesday to comment on the piece, saying the Global Times editorials do not reflect official foreign policy.

Meanwhile, China's once-thriving relationship with South Korea has hit the rocks over Beijing's strenuous objections to Seoul's deploying of an advanced US anti-missile system. Beijing says the system threatens its own security by allowing the US to monitor flights and other activity in northeastern China. Beijing has retaliated against South Korean businesses, while its military has threatened to take unspecified action in response.

China's top negotiator for North Korea's nuclear program, Wu Dawei, held talks on the missile shield and North Korea's recent actions during a visit to Seoul last week. However, North Korea didn't respond to Wu's request to visit Pyongyang, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

 

   
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