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China 'closely watching' N. Korea after execution of Kim's uncle

China 'closely watching' N. Korea after execution of Kim's uncle

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Published : 2014-01-01 17:37
Updated : 2014-01-01 17:37

China's Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said Beijing has been "closely watching" the situation on the Korean Peninsula, as North Korea's neighbors keep a wary eye on potential fallout from last month's execution of leader Kim Jong-un's uncle.

"China is closely watching the development of the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Liu said in a question-and-answer article posted on his ministry's website on late Tuesday.

Without mentioning the execution of Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, Liu emphasized China's "unremitting efforts" to uphold peace and stability on the peninsula.

Kim purged and executed Jang on a host of charges, including treason and corruption, early last month, triggering fears in South Korea that Kim may carry out provocations to forge internal unity.

In his New Year's address on Wednesday, Kim hailed the execution of Jang as the elimination of "factional filth." Kim also called for improved ties with South Korea, but warned both Seoul and Washington of a "nuclear catastrophe" if a war broke out on the peninsula.

Entering the new year, Liu reaffirmed China's "unswerving stance" to "achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and resume the long-stalled talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear program "at an early date."

The six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since late 2008.

South Korea and the U.S. insist that North Korea first demonstrate its sincerity to denuclearize through action for any resumption of the six-nation talks to take place.

North Korea, which conducted its third and most powerful nuclear test in February last year, has shown no sign of abandoning its nuclear program but has repeatedly said it is willing to return to the negotiating table "without preconditions." (Yonhap News)

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