China on Thursday called for an early resumption of the long-stalled six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea, one day after China expressed its willingness to help the North open dialogue with its neighbors.
"The pressing issue is to improve mutual trust and relations through talks and contacts and to resolve the problem through negotiations," China's foreign ministry spokesman, Hua Chunying, said in a press conference, referring to the nuclear row with the North.
The multilateral dialogue is still an effective system for the six nations' efforts to denuclearize the North, and the countries should capitalize on the current reconciliatory mode in order to revive the talks, Hua said, calling on the countries to join hands.
The current favorable mood on the Korean Peninsula constitutes a very rare moment, and the countries should take it as a chance to resume the talks, the spokesman said.
After what was billed as "strategic talks" with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, on Wednesday, China's Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui expressed Beijing's support for Pyongyang's desire to resolve its nuclear issue through dialogue.
The six-party forum that involves the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan and Russia has been suspended since 2008 when North Korea walked out in protest of the United Nations' condemnation of its banned rocket launch.
The North's move to rejoin the talks is a turnaround from its previous long-term hostility toward South Korea and the U.S. Before making a surprise offer of talks to the South earlier this month, North Korea issued months of warlike threats. After its efforts to hold high-level talks with South Korea fell through, the North issued another surprise offer to talk with the U.S.
It's unclear whether China's latest push to help North Korea revive the six-party talks would succeed, because the U.S. has so far shown little interest in it.
After holding a trilateral meeting with his American and Japanese counterparts -- Glyn Davies and Shinsuke Sugiyama – in Washington, Cho Tae-yong, Seoul's chief nuclear envoy, said Pyongyang must meet "stronger requirements" than before in order for talks to happen, echoing a similar stance by the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman also said the North Korean vice foreign minister will meet with a high-level foreign affairs official before returning home. Diplomatic sources said he may meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi or Yang Jiechi, a member of China's State Council. (YONHAP)