U.S., North Korea Talks ‘More Important than Anything’, Seoul Claims

The U.S. and North Korea need to keep up their momentum for negotiations, and this is “more important than anything”, South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Monday, Reuters informed.

North Korea has set a year-end deadline for the United States 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 program and establish lasting peace.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump have met three times since June 2018, 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 United States would “pay dearly” for taking issue with the North’s human rights record and said Washington’s “malicious words” would only aggravate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Reuters added.

China is North Korea’s most important diplomatic backer and trading partner, and Moon took his message about the significance of talks straight to Xi. “It is more important than anything to keep up the momentum for dialogue between North Korea and the United States,” Moon said, according to his spokeswoman Ko Min-jung who was present at the meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

Ko cited Xi as saying that many people are concerned about the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula. “China and South Korea should gather strength to help North Korea and the United States sustain the momentum for dialogue,” she cited Xi as saying.

Earlier, Moon’s office quoted him as saying that the suspension of U.S.-North Korea talks and rising tensions was not beneficial for South Korea, China or North Korea. Xi told Moon that China supports South Korea’s efforts to improve ties with North Korea 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 Xi as saying.

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