China firm on talks to solve NK crisis, Xi tells Trump

China is focused on solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through talks and peaceful means, President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Donald Trump in a telephone call.

China is focused on solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through talks and peaceful means, President Xi Jinping told his US counterpart Donald Trump in a telephone call yesterday.

Xi said China has been adamant in preserving international nuclear non-proliferation, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving the nuclear issue through talks.

He said the general direction should head toward a peaceful settlement of the issue, adding that dialogue combined with a set of comprehensive measures is best for seeking a long-term solution.

Trump said Washington has been deeply concerned over the ongoing situation on the Korean Peninsula, and attaches importance to China’s essential role in resolving the issue.

He pledged to step up communication with the Chinese side in a bid to find a solution as early as possible.

During the talks, Xi said China attaches great importance to Trump’s visit to China later this year, hoping both sides can work together to ensure the visit a success.

Also yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after meeting his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis is impossible with sanctions and pressure alone.

The two met on the sidelines of an economic summit in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok amid mounting international concern that North Korea plans more weapons tests, possibly a long-range missile launch ahead of a weekend anniversary.

Putin denounced North Korea’s sixth and largest nuclear bomb test on Sunday, saying Russia did not recognize its nuclear status.

“Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear program is a crude violation of UN Security Council resolutions, undermines the non-proliferation regime and creates a threat to the security of northeastern Asia,” Putin said at a joint news conference. 

“At the same time, it is clear that it is impossible to resolve the problem of the Korean Peninsula only by sanctions and pressure.”

No headway could be made without political and diplomatic tools, Putin said, later telling the TASS news agency that Russian and North Korean delegations might meet at the Vladivostok forum.

Moon, who came to power this year advocating a policy of pursuing engagement with North Korea, has come under increasing pressure to take a harder line. He has asked the United Nations to consider tough new sanctions following the latest nuclear test.

Diplomats say the UN Security Council could consider banning North Korean textile exports, barring its airline or stopping supplies of oil to the government and military.

Other measures could include preventing North Koreans from working abroad and putting top officials on a blacklist aimed at imposing asset freezes and travel bans.

“I ask Russia to actively cooperate as this time it is inevitable that North Korea’s oil supply should be cut at the least,” Moon told Putin.

Putin said North Korea would not give up its nuclear program no matter how tough the sanctions.

“We too, are against North Korea developing its nuclear capabilities and condemn it, but it is worrying cutting the oil pipeline will harm the regular people, like in hospitals,” Putin said.

Russia’s exports of crude oil to North Korea were tiny at about 40,000 tons a year, Putin said.

Sanctions have done little to stop North Korea boosting its nuclear and missile capacity as it faces off with Trump, who has vowed to stop it from being able to hit the US mainland.

China and Russia have advocated a “freeze for freeze” plan, where the US and South Korea stop major military exercises in exchange for North Korea halting its weapons programs.

North Korea says it needs to defend itself against what it sees as US aggression.

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