North Korea's Kim tells China he is committed to denuclearization
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told a visiting Chinese diplomat on Thursday that he is committed to denuclearization, China’s foreign ministry said, as diplomatic efforts to bring lasting peace to the Korean peninsula gather pace.
China is North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite its anger at North Korea’ repeated nuclear and missile tests, and its support for strong U.N. sanctions against the North.
However, China has also welcomed moves by North Korea to improve ties with South Korea and the United States.
China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, is visiting North Korea following last week’s historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong Un, when both pledged to improve ties.
The North surprised the world several days before the summit by declaring it would dismantle its nuclear test site to “transparently guarantee” its dramatic commitment to stop all nuclear and missile tests.
Meeting in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, Kim told Wang that recent positive changes on the peninsula were beneficial to a peaceful resolution, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Kim Jong Un said achieving the denuclearization of the peninsula is the firm position of the North Korean side,” the ministry said.
Wang told Kim that North Korea had seized the day and made a decisive decision, bringing positive changes.
Last week’s summit talks between the leaders of the two Koreans had brought about an opportunity for a political resolution, Wang added.
China supported an end to the state of war on the peninsula, North Korea’s shift to economic development and the resolution of North Korea’s legitimate security concerns during the denuclearization process, he said.
“China is willing to maintain communication with North Korea on this and increase coordination.”
The 1950-53 Korean War, which technically is still going on because a peace treaty has yet to be signed.
Wang also met North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.