China’s top leaders have vowed to help the US pursue a denuclearized North Korea. The
pledge follows strong rhetoric from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who has threatened a
nuclear attack on the US.
China on Saturday agreed to participate in diplomatic efforts aimed at ridding North Korea of
its nuclear capabilities. It followed a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, as well as other Chinese officials in
Beijing has remained an ally of North Korea, but has increasingly become frustrated with
Kim Jong-Un’s aggression in recent weeks. Despite his threats toward Seoul and Washington,
China’s leaders have avoided intervening directly in the conflict, saying they wanted to
maintain peace in the region.
“We are able, the United States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the
denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner,” Kerry told reporters after the
Regional stability continued to be China’s top priority, said Chinese State Councilor, Yang
Jiechi. However, a non-nuclear North Korea served “the common interests of all parties.”
“It is also the shared responsibility of all parties,” Yang said.
“China will work with other relevant parties, including the United States, to play a
constructive role in promoting the six-party talks and balanced implementation of the goals
set out in the Sept. 19 joint statement of 2005,” Yang added.
The joint statement in 2005 outlined the renewed goals held by China, Russia, the US
and South Korea toward denuclearizing North Korea, known officially as the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Pyongyang had also participated in the talks and had
agreed to the international plan.
John Kerry’s visit came amid the threat of an attack from Pyongyang on its southern neighbor
and the US.
On Friday, he met with South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-Hye, in Seoul.
North Korea would be making a “huge mistake” that would lead to further isolation if it went
ahead with a missile test, Kerry told reporters, adding that he also backed Park’s diplomatic
initiative to “listen to what North Korea thinks” in a bid to defuse tensions.
“We’re prepared to work with the conviction that relations between North and South can
improve and they can improve quickly,” he added.
Neither Washington nor Seoul were surprised by belligerent rhetoric from Kim Jong-Un
several weeks ago, when he first threatened missile or nuclear strikes against both nations.
However, other diplomatic developments – such as the closure of a joint industrialized zone
and Pyongyang’s inquiry as to whether foreign diplomats would leave the area – have worried
the international community that the North Korean leader would attack, as promised.
kms/jr (AFP, AP, Reuters)