China presses North on its nukes

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China presses North on its nukes

China’s vice president told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that Beijing will push for talks on ridding the Korean peninsula of nuclear weapons, as he led a delegation to Pyongyang to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Li Yuanchao is a member of China’s 25-member Politburo and the talks are the highest-level contact between China and North Korea since Kim assumed power in December 2011 upon the death of his father, Kim Jong-il.

Li conveyed a “verbal message” from Chinese President Xi Jinping to Kim during the meeting on Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued yesterday.

“As a close neighbor of the Korean peninsula, China will persist in the denuclearization of the peninsula, adhere to safeguarding the peace and stability on the peninsula and persist in using dialogue and consultation to resolve the problem,” Li was quoted as telling Kim.

Li reiterated that China was willing to work with all concerned parties to promote six-party talks and was “committed to pushing for the process of denuclearization”.

Six-party aid-for-disarmament talks, involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host China, collapsed in 2008 when the North walked out.

Kim told Li that North Korea “supports China’s efforts to resume the six-party talks,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

China is the main economic and diplomatic lifeline for impoverished and isolated North Korea, which has tested nuclear weapons three times since 2006, and the neighbors have shared adversity in the past.

Visiting the graves of Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War, Li praised their sacrifice in the name of “defending peace and protecting justice”, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

“The reason we are commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War is to look forward to the future, to better maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and seek regional prosperity and development,” Li added.

Reuters

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