China’s Liu: Talks must be inclusive

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China’s Liu: Talks must be inclusive

There is no dialogue excluding North Korea on the issue of its denuclearization, said Liu Jianchao, assistant minister of foreign affairs, as he called for an early revival of long-stalled six-party talks.

“In whatever negotiation scenario, North Korea cannot be missing,” Liu told a group of Korean reporters on Tuesday at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing. “We cannot forget this.”

The six-party talks began as a dialogue among the Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan in an attempt to resolve concerns stemming from Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, with the ultimate objective being a denuclearized state. Negotiations were stalled in late 2008, however, after North Korea walked out of talks.

The key to the North Korea nuclear issue is relations between Pyongyang and Washington, the former Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman added. He pointed out that the six-party talks began with cooperation among China, the United States and North Korea. “We appeal for a flexible attitude to resume the six-party talks as soon as possible,” he said, encouraging South Korea to play an active role.

Beijing stresses the importance of “decreasing the differences between the six-party nations and finding more common ground to head in the same direction,” Liu said, reiterating that China supports the denuclearization and promotion of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

Korean foreign affairs reporters visited the country ahead of an anticipated visit by President Xi Jinping to Seoul, slated for early July.

Liu also pointed out that it was inaccurate to say China’s relationship with North Korea was that of a military alliance. “One of China’s most important principles is that it doesn’t make a military alliance with any country,” he said. “Our relationship with North Korea does not endanger any country in the world. Maintaining security through a military alliance is not in accordance with the era.”

In 1961, Pyongyang and Beijing signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, through which China is obliged to defend North Korea against unprovoked aggression from any opposing country or coalition of countries under Article 2 of the agreement. Liu’s remarks seem to back analysts who have speculated that the cooperation treaty has been nullified.

Liu criticized the actions of the Shinzo Abe administration for denying its history of wartime aggression, including its review of the 1993 Kono Statement apologizing for its forceful recruitment of women into military brothels during World War II.

“Coming into this year, the Japanese prime minister’s actions are clearly going against historical truth and people’s common sense, as well as the wishes of not only Korea and China, but the international community that desires peace,” he said, adding that Beijing wants to “continue dialogue and exchange with Korea on historical issues.”

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]


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