China urges U.S. to resume talks with North Korea

12 Sep 2019

On Thursday, China persuaded the United States to take on an approach which would encourage talks with North Korea. 

Beijing is urging Washington to make the move in response to Kim Jong-Un’s willingness to resume talks of denuclearisation, and again advised United Nations sanctions relief to be taken into consideration for North Korea. 

On Monday, Pyongyang said it was willing to resume discussions about denuclearisation with the U.S. later in September, but cautioned that negotiations between the two entities could be futile unless Washington opts for a new approach. 

Only hours after the announcement, North Korea fired a new batch of short-range projectiles. 

Speaking in Beijing, State Councillor Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s leading diplomat, said China applauded North Korea’s recent “positive signals” on restarting discussions with the U.S. 

Speaking at a joint news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Wang said: “We would be glad to see North Korea and the United States resuming talks on schedule at the end of the month.”

Wang added that history has shown that in order for the talks to prove successful, each side’s main concerns must be dealt with. 

“If there are only preconditions made for the other side, or lists drawn up, or even trying to use extreme pressure to get the other side to make unilateral concessions, then this didn’t work in the past and it won’t work now or in the future.”

So far this year, Pyongyang has made several positive steps forward, and has requested that Washington meet them half way, Wang said.
 
“We hope that the U.S. side can also take practical measures in this regard and make due efforts to ease the situation and promote dialogue.”

Wang refrained from mentioning North Korea’s recent weapon tests. He did repeat a previous suggestion from Beijing for sanctions relief for North Korea.

“We believe that the U.N Security Council should in due course consider opening a discussion on the North Korea sanctions resolutions reversal clauses, to help North Korea alleviate the difficulties brought to the economy and people’s livelihoods by the sanctions.”

Wang paid a visit to the North Korean capital last week. China is Pyongyang’s leading economic and diplomatic source of support. 

Back in June, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un met at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea and formally agreed to resume working-level talks that had been paused since the previous summit between the two leaders in Vietnam in February, which proved to be unfruitful. 

Since the DMZ summit however, American officials stated that their efforts to restart discussions were futile. North Korea has also launched at least eight weapon tests since the meeting, usually utilising multiple missiles each time. 

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