Chinese, S. Korean presidents: Maintain momentum in N. Korea-US talks
SEOUL: Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday expressed concerns over rising tension between North Korea and the US, calling for them to maintain the momentum for dialogue, South Korea's presidential office said.
"There are many people concerned about the tense situation on the Korean peninsula," Mr Xi told South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a summit in Beijing, according to Mr Moon's spokesman Ko Min-jung.
"China and South Korea should gather strength to help North Korea and the United States sustain the momentum for dialogue."
Mr Moon agreed with Mr Xi and said it is "more important than anything" to keep up the momentum.
North Korea has set a year-end deadline for the US to change what it says is a policy of hostility amid a stalemate in efforts to make progress on their pledge to end the North's nuclear programme and establish lasting peace.
Its leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump have met three times since June last year, but there has been no substantive progress in dialogue while the North demanded crushing international sanctions be lifted first.
On Saturday, state media said the US would "pay dearly" for taking issue with the North's human rights record and said Washington's "malicious words" would only aggravate tension on the Korean Peninsula.
China is North Korea's most important diplomatic backer and trading partner.
Earlier, Mr Moon's office quoted him as saying that the suspension of US-North Korea talks and rising tension were not beneficial for South Korea, China or North Korea.
Mr Xi told Mr Moon that China supports Seoul's efforts to improve ties with Pyongyang and inject new impetus into promoting peace talks, China's Foreign Ministry said.
China and South Korea both advocate that the Korean peninsula issue be resolved through dialogue and consultation and are a "firm force for maintaining stability and promoting talks", the ministry paraphrased Mr Xi as saying. - REUTERS