BEIJING (Yonhap News) – A senior Chinese military official renewed his country's "clear-cut" goal of ending North Korea's nuclear program through dialogue during a meeting with South Korean defense officials last week, China's defense ministry said Tuesday.
Sun Jianguo, the deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, made the remark on Friday when he met a delegation of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, which is affiliated with South Korea's defense ministry, in Beijing. "China's stand on the issue of peninsula security is consistent and clear-cut," Sun said, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website.
"China sticks to the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, adheres to safeguarding peace and stability of the peninsula, and persists in tackling issues of the peninsula through dialogue, negotiations and consultations," the statement said.
Amid indications Beijing is accelerating its efforts to revive the six-party talks, the chief nuclear envoys from North Korea and China held talks in Pyongyang last week.
Confirming last week's talks in Pyongyang, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday that the two sides "exchanged views on the resumption of the six-party talks."
The six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, China, the U.S., Japan and Russia, have been stalled since late 2008.
Despite signs of easing tensions, a U.S. research institute said late last week, citing recent satellite images, that North Korea has started a major construction project at the facility where it launched a long-range rocket last December.
During a regular press briefing on Tuesday, Hong sidestepped a question by a reporter about the reported works at the North's missile launch site.
Instead, Hong told reporters, "We hope that all relevant parties can take positive actions to ease the tensions and to promote dialogue, and to make positive contributions to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."
Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday briefed senior diplomats of South Korea, the U.S., Japan and Russia about the outcome of Wu's visit to North Korea, a diplomatic source in Beijing said.
At the closed-door briefing session, China delivered the North's latest stance on its nuclear programs to diplomats from the four nations and reasserted the need to resume the six-party talks, the source said on the condition of anonymity.
The source did not elaborate on whether North Korea may accept a set of pre-conditions set by Seoul, Washington and Tokyo to pave the way for the resumption of the talks. They include a moratorium of its nuclear and missile tests and a return of international nuclear inspectors to the country.