China calls on U.S. to address Korean Peninsula issue via diplomatic means

Zhang Tao

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday called on the United States to back up Monday's statement by senior U.S. officials that the United States wished to resolve Korean Peninsula issue via diplomatic means.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks in response to an opinion piece by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stressing the importance of a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Tillerson and Mattis wrote in the Monday edition of The Wall Street Journal that Washington has "no interest" in regime change in Pyongyang nor in accelerated reunification of the Korean Peninsula, and that "diplomacy is our preferred means" of changing the DPRK's course of action.

Speaking at a daily press briefing, Hua said that China hopes to see concrete policies by the U.S. side towards the DPRK that reflect the views of the two senior officials.

"We also call on the DPRK to respond to these remarks," she said.

Tensions escalated on the peninsula after the DPRK twice test-fired what it called an intercontinental ballistic missile last month.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Pyongyang that if it continued to threaten the United States, it would be met with "fire and fury."

In response, the DPRK warned of the launch of intermediate-range ballistic missiles targeting the waters off the U.S. island of Guam in the Pacific.

Hua said China has always believed that the security issue is the crux of Korean Peninsula denuclearization, and that "the key is in the hands of the United States and the DPRK."

She said China hopes that all parties concerned will accept China's "suspension for suspension" proposal which requires the DPRK to suspend its missile and nuclear activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale military drills between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

China will continue to implement UN Security Council resolutions and play an active role in the peaceful resolution of the Korean Peninsula issue, she said.

ROK President Moon Jae-in said in a televised speech Tuesday that U.S. military action on the Korean Peninsula may not be taken without Seoul's consent, and the crisis should "absolutely" be solved peacefully.

Hua said it is in all parties' interests to solve the issue in a peaceful way. She urged all concerned to show restraint and make a responsible choice to ease the tensions in a highly sensitive and complex situation.

The spokesperson also said that it is in line with the fundamental interests of both the DPRK and the ROK to improve bilateral ties via dialogue and promote reconciliation.

"We hope the two sides can work together and create conditions to restart dialogue," she said.


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