Xi reiterates position for denuclearized North

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Xi reiterates position for denuclearized North

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal ahead of his upcoming summit with the U.S. president that “China’s position for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is firm and clear-cut.”

“At the same time, we believe that the denuclearization, peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula should be achieved through peaceful means,” he said in an interview published Tuesday to coincide with his first state visit to Washington.

His remarks come amid mounting concern from the international community that North Korea may launch a long-range missile or conduct a fourth nuclear test to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party next month.

Xi added that Beijing and Washington, as members of the United Nations Security Council, “have been engaged in close coordination and cooperation in addressing various regional and international issues as well as global challenges,” which include the North Korean nuclear issue.

Such efforts, he said, will continue to be maintained with the United States and relevant parties in order “to properly address issues relating to the Korean Peninsula.”

However, “there are differences in our respective thinking on and approach to some issues,” he said, without specifying further.

Xi, accompanied by his wife Peng Liyuan, kicked off his U.S. trip in Seattle on Tuesday with a forum of U.S. and Chinese governors and met with top American and Chinese executives.

In Washington, he and U.S. President Barack Obama will hold bilateral talks on Friday followed by a joint press conference and a state banquet at the White House.

Xi will then head to New York upon the invitation of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to attend a series of events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations alongside other world leaders, including President Park Geun-hye.

He will address the UN on Monday for the first time.

The North Korean nuclear issue is expected to be an important topic in the UN General Assembly and in the upcoming weeks, particularly since Pyongyang vowed to launch a “satellite” - considered to be code for a long-range missile test.

On Tuesday, a trilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida will be held along the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Yun will explain Seoul’s efforts to improve inter-Korean relations following the deal struck by Seoul and Pyongyang on Aug. 25, as well as the possibility of the North engaging in strategic provocations.

The meeting follows the Japanese Diet’s passage on Saturday of a set of security bills that will to allow its military to wage war abroad for the first time since the end of World War II.

Ambassador Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, is currently in Seoul to take part in the two-day Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue, which kicked off Wednesday.

The defense meeting, attended by senior military and foreign affairs officials from Seoul and Washington, will focus on deterring any nuclear and long-range missile tests by North Korea.

Earlier Wednesday, Kim also sat for talks with Korean Unification Hong Yong-pyo and Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong.

The ambassador will also meet with Hwang Joon-kook, the special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, on Friday to further discuss issues related to Pyongyang.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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