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Moon:China Must Aid in Denuclearization12/05 06:11

   South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday the global diplomatic push 
to defuse the nuclear standoff with North Korea is at a "critical crossroads" 
and called for China to continue serving a "positive role" in denuclearizing 
the Korean Peninsula and stabilizing peace.

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday 
the global diplomatic push to defuse the nuclear standoff with North Korea is 
at a "critical crossroads" and called for China to continue serving a "positive 
role" in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and stabilizing peace.

   Moon made the comments during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang 
Yi at Seoul's presidential Blue House. Wang made his first visit in four years 
amid efforts to patch up relations damaged by South Korea's deployment of a 
U.S. anti-missile system China perceives as a security threat.

   "The process for the complete denuclearizing of the Korean Peninsula and 
permanently stabilizing peace is at a critical crossroads," Moon said. "I would 
like to ask for continuous support from the Chinese government until the new 
era of a peaceful and denuclearized Korean Peninsula opens."

   Wang called for stronger "strategic communication" between Beijing and Seoul 
and took a jab at the Trump administration, which is locked in trade war with 
Beijing, saying that international order was being threatened by 
"unilateralism" and "forcible politics."

   "China and South Korea as neighbors should strengthen dialogue and 
cooperation to jointly uphold multilateralism and free trade," Wang said.

   The Blue House said Moon during his meeting with Wang called for stronger 
bilateral efforts to facilitate tourism between the countries and expressed 
hope that Chinese President Xi Jinping would visit South Korea at an "early 
time" next year.

   Wang told Moon that China would continue to play a "constructive role" in 
the efforts to peacefully resolve the nuclear crisis despite "recent 
difficulties in the political situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula," the 
Blue House said.

   Wang on Wednesday met with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and 
discussed issues related to North Korea and details of a trilateral summit 
between Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo planned later this month in China. They also 
discussed facilitating high-level exchanges and arranging a possible visit to 
South Korea by Chinese President Xi Jinping next year, South Korea's Foreign 
Ministry said.

   His visit comes after years of tensions over the U.S. Terminal High Altitude 
Area Defense, or THAAD, system placed in southern South Korea and amid concerns 
that a U.S.-led diplomatic push to resolve a nuclear standoff with North Korea 
is beginning to fall apart over disagreements in exchanging sanctions relief 
and disarmament.

   With the talks faltering, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has intensified 
his missile testing activity while issuing an end-of-year deadline for the 
Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal to salvage 
the diplomacy.

   There's also uneasiness over the U.S.-China trade war, which has hurt South 
Korea's export-dependent economy and included U.S. demands that South Korean 
companies stop using equipment from Chinese technology giant Huawei based on 
security concerns.

   Wang last visited South Korea in 2015, a year before relations soured over 
Seoul's decision to deploy THAAD, which China claimed could be reconfigured to 
peer deep into its territory. South Korea has said China retaliated by limiting 
Chinese tour group visits to South Korea, whose economy is increasingly 
dependent on Chinese tourism, and demand for its industrial products.

   In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying mentioned 
THAAD among issues affecting the bilateral ties that the sides had "agreed to 
continue to properly deal with."

   Hua also reiterated China's position that North Korea's "legitimate concerns 
.... in terms of security and development should be taken seriously," and that 
the North should be offered sanctions relief "in light of the development of 
the situation so as to encourage all parties to move forward in the direction 
of political settlement."


(KR)

 
 
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