China hopes Kim Jong-un’s meeting with Donald Trump will ‘take fuse’ out of North Korea crisis
Foreign Minister Wang Yi issues statement backing talks after meeting in Moscow
China’s foreign minister has said he hopes that planned summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the presidents of South Korea and the United States will “take the fuse” out of the situation on the Korean peninsula.
After a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Wang Yi said he hoped the summits would bring the issue of North Korea’s nuclear programme back into the realm of dialogue and negotiations.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump have both agreed to meet Kim.
“We all welcome and support the apparent improvement in the situation on the peninsula and appreciate the efforts of all parties,” Wang, who is also a State Councillor, said on Thursday, in comments posted on his ministry’s website.
He added that he hoped the three leaders would take the opportunity to completely defuse the situation.
Trump has traded barbs with the North Korean leader for much of his time in office as Pyongyang pursued the development of nuclear weapons capable of hitting the United States.
Separately Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said North Korea was “suffocating” under international sanctions, adding, “They need an out.”
Speaking at Duke University in North Carolina on Thursday, Haley said, “When the president ends up speaking with Kim, the conversation has to be about denuclearising. Not some of it, all of it. We don’t want an irresponsible actor to have nuclear weapons.”
She added, “But we’re going into this very cautiously, very much knowing that he’s looked at the Iran deal [signed before Trump came to power], he’s seen what he can get and he’s seen how he can push through loopholes, and we’re not going to let that happen again.”
Last month, China said Kim, who was on a surprise visit to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, had backed denuclearising the Korean peninsula.
China and Russia are both permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which has imposed sanctions on North Korea in a bid to force negotiations with Pyongyang.
Tension on the peninsula has eased following a flurry of diplomatic activity in the lead-up to February’s Winter Olympics held in South Korea.
North and South Korea have agreed to hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, while Trump has said he would meet Kim by the end of May.