President Moon, Xi confirm common goal of N. Korea denuclearization
Jul 7, 2017
President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands ahead of their summit at Intercontinental Hotel in Berlin, Thursday. / Yonhap

President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jingping reaffirmed that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was their common goal, pledging for heavier sanctions on North Korea to prevent its further nuclear and missile development, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

During their first summit in Berlin on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Xi also expressed his support for Seoul's leading effort to resume talks with Pyongyang and create peace on the peninsula.

The summit took place two days after the North test-fired an alleged intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The meeting lasted for 75 minutes, much longer than the initially scheduled 40 minutes.

“The two leaders confirmed that they could not accept the ICBM provocation and agreed to closely cooperate to resolve the issue fundamentally, as North Korea's nuclear and missile programs threaten peace and stability not only in South Korea and China but also Northeast Asia,” presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said.

“For their joint goal of denuclearizing the peninsula, they agreed to impose heavier sanctions and stronger pressure to prevent Pyongyang's additional provocations while at the same time inducing the North to make the right choice and accept a peaceful resolution through dialogue.”

Moon asked for China to make more of a contribution in addressing the issue and take a leading role as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). His call is in line with the international community's criticism of China, perhaps North Korea's only ally, for not actively playing a major role over the issue.

Xi responded that China was making efforts to fully carry out UNSC resolutions against North Korea and to prevent Pyongyang from developing its missiles. “Xi said that along with measures by the Security Council, he would cooperate with related countries to come up with proper actions,” Park said.

Xi also supported Moon's attempt to resume contact and talks with the North, improve inter-Korean relations and relieve tension on the peninsula, saying he would cooperate.

Park said the two leaders exchanged opinions on some contentious issues, implying the deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea.

Moon's predecessor, Park Geun-hye, decided to install the anti-missile system here as a deterrent to North Korea's missile threats. But China opposed it claiming the X-band radar of the system could spy on its military activities; and has taken economic retaliatory measures against South Korean businesses.

“Those measures (over THAAD) have shrunk economic, cultural and human exchanges between the two countries. Considering the influence this situation will have on the relations between the people of our two countries, I request your attention and support to revitalize exchanges and cooperation in various fields,” Park quoted Moon as saying.

Xi then said he could not ignore the Chinese people's concerns, but added he hoped the two countries' exchanges will be normalized and expanded. The two nations agreed to strengthen communication through various channels, including meetings of high-ranking officials, to boost mutual understanding.

Moon said he would soon visit China for deeper discussions on pending issues, while inviting Xi to visit South Korea for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games next year.

Commemorating the 25th year of diplomatic relations, Seoul and Beijing also agreed on the need to develop the relationship into a partnership for practical and strategic cooperation.

Moon expressed his gratitude to Shanghai Salvage, a Chinese state-run company that successfully salvaged the sunken ferry Sewol from seas off the southwestern coast of Korea in March nearly three years after the tragic sinking.

“I'm well aware that the salvage operation was really difficulty but the company did the job quickly and successfully. I heard that President Xi encouraged the company workers. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude,” Moon said.

Source:The Korea Times

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