China urges parties to return to NK talks

Global Times
Zhang Tao

China urged relevant parties Wednesday to help de-escalate the situation on the Korean Peninsula and to bring various parties back to negotiations.

"China has always stuck to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability in the region and trying to solve the problem by communicating… We hope relevant parties contribute to de-escalating the situation on the peninsula and bringing various parties back to the track of negotiations and dialogue," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a press conference on Wednesday.

Hua's remarks were in response to US President Donald Trump's speech on Wednesday to the South Korean National Assembly, during which he denounced North Korea as "nuclear adventurism."

"We call on every nation, including China and Russia, to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime, and sever all ties of trade and technology," Trump said, South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported.

CNN reported that Trump attempted to make a surprise visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North Korea and South Korea on Wednesday morning, but was forced to turn back because of bad weather.

In his speech in South Korea, Trump also said, "We will offer a path to a much better future. It begins with an end to the aggression of your regime, a stop to your development of ballistic missiles, and complete, verifiable and total denuclearization."

Trump's "failure to visit the DMZ" and offer of engagement with Pyongyang shows the US leader is making an effort to avoid increased tensions, Lü Chao, a research fellow at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Lü added that "We can tell that he considers peacefully resolving the peninsula issue an option, which leaves greater room for US-China cooperation on the issue."

"Trump refrained from making really aggressive military threats and that will be appreciated in Seoul," Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, was quoted by CNN as saying.

Hua said on Wednesday that China is faithfully and strictly implementing our international obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on Tuesday that Chinese tour operators based in the border city of Dandong were told to suspend trips to Pyongyang the day before Trump's first official visit to China.

Most tour companies that take Chinese tourists to North Korea are based in Dandong, the main trading hub on the Chinese side of the border.

Several Dandong-based tour companies reached by the Global Times mostly showed reluctance to comment on the "travel ban," and some claim that "the trips were suspended due to the cold weather, and that it is a lean season anyway."

However, a travel agent from a Dandong travel agency surnamed Liu told the Global Times that "we were told by local authorities that starting Wednesday, no trips to Pyongyang would be approved. The only available package is the day tour to Sinuiju, the North Korean city facing Dandong."

Liu did not elaborate on the ban, and said she was also not aware of when such an arrangement would be lifted.


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