North Korea talks: China cautiously 'cheering on' Koreas

11 March, 2018, 03:02 | Author: Charlene Valdez

China's foreign minister Wang Yi called on the United States and North Korea on Thursday (March 8) to have talks as soon as possible and said peace must prevail, amid signs of easing tension over North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

Wang, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with improvements in relations between China and Japan, saying Beijing welcomes Tokyo's recent "positive policy" toward China. As expected, Wang praised the recent diplomatic efforts by North and South Korea, emphasizing that the current period of warmth is unlike anything seen on the Korean Peninsula in some time.

South Korea has said the North has indicated it is prepared to give up its nuclear weapons programme - a defining feature of its politics for decades - if the U.S. agrees to guarantee its security.

But the Winter Olympics in South Korea provided an unexpected window for diplomacy, with North Korea appearing to be pushing for a de-escalation.

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China says its proposal urging South Korea and the United States to suspend joint military drills in exchange for North Korea stopping their nuclear tests, played a key role in the rapprochement between the two Koreas.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un have now agreed to meet at the border and discuss a halt to the weapons testing.

"China's suspension-for-suspension proposal has proven to be a right prescription for the problem in creating the basic conditions needed for improving inter-Korea relations" Wang said. In their dialogues, Wang said, all parties should equally address both denuclearization and "legitimate security concerns" (including those of North Korea).

"Despite the light at the end of the tunnel the journey ahead will not be smooth", he stressed.

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The book also features the official Chinese version of the "Vision for Maritime Cooperation under the Belt and Road" initiative made public by China's central government in June 2017.

"Now is a crucial moment for testing the sincerity of the parties", who must show political courage to restart dialogue for the peaceful settlement of nuclear issue, Wang said.

Visiting China in January, French President Emmanuel Macron said Belt and Road could not be "one-way".

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