Xi tells Moon talks only way out for Koreas

Reuters
War must not be allowed to break out on the Korean Peninsula and the issue must be resolved through talks, Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday.
Reuters

War must not be allowed to break out on the Korean Peninsula and the issue must be resolved through talks, Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the danger of “sleepwalking” into conflict.

Xi made his comments to visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in just days after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions.

But the White House said on Wednesday that no negotiations could be held until North Korea improved its behavior. The White House has declined to say whether US President Donald Trump, who has taken a tougher rhetorical line toward North Korea, approved Tillerson’s overture.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that Tillerson’s offer of direct contacts with North Korea was “a very good signal,” while warning a US strike on North Korea would have catastrophic consequences.

North Korea tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29, which it said could put all of the United States within range, in defiance of UN sanctions.

The US has said all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea, including military action.

Meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi told Moon that the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula must be stuck to, and war and chaos cannot be allowed. “The Korea Peninsula issue must, in the end, be resolved via dialogue and consultation,” Xi said.

China and South Korea have an important shared interest in maintaining peace, and China is willing to work with South Korea to promote talks and support North Korea and South Korea to improve relations, Xi said.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Xi and Moon agreed war on the peninsula would not be tolerated and they would cooperate in applying sanctions and pressure on North Korea.

China has been furious about the deployment of the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system in South Korea, saying its powerful radar can see far into China and will do nothing to ease tension with North Korea. China and South Korea agreed in October to normalize exchanges and move past the dispute, which froze trade and business exchanges.

Xi reiterated China’s position on THAAD and said he hoped South Korea would continue to “appropriately handle” the issue.

After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of cooperative documents in areas such as economic and trade, green and ecological industries, health, agriculture, energy and Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile in Tokyo, Guterres, speaking to reporters after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs must be fully implemented by Pyongyang and other countries.

“Security Council resolutions must be fully implemented, first of all by North Korea, but by all other countries whose role is crucial,” Guterres said.

He said he expected a meeting of the UN Security Council today would deliver a strong expression of unity and the need for diplomacy to resolve the issue. “The worst possible thing that could happen is for us all to sleepwalk into a war.”

Putin said a US strike on North Korea would have catastrophic consequences and he hoped to work with Washington eventually to resolve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.


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