China's vice foreign minister has told North Korea's top diplomats that Beijing "will never allow war or chaos" on the Korean Peninsula, in a clear warning against Pyongyang's defiant continuation of its nuclear programs and provocations.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, who began a four-day visit to North Korea on Monday, made the remarks during a meeting with senior North Korean officials, including Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun, Liu's ministry said in a statement.
The remarks by Liu were echoed by previous comments by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who made similar remarks during talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, but it appears to be the first time that a Chinese official publicly relayed the view to North Korea.
It is also rare for China to reveal details of such a diplomatic visit to North Korea before the visit ends.
"Liu Zhenmin stressed that China adheres to the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and solving problems through dialogue and negotiation. China will never allow war or chaos on the peninsula," the Chinese statement said.
Liu also urged "all parties" to make efforts to "create conditions for an early resumption of the six-party talks," aimed at ending the North's nuclear program, according to the statement.
North Korea said the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a dying wish" of late leader Kim Jong-il and Pyongyang is "willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China to defuse the situation and to promote best efforts to restart the six-party talks," it said.
The six-party dialogue, which involves the two Koreas, China, the U.S., Japan and Russia, has been dormant since late 2008. North Korea conducted its third and most powerful nuclear test last February, prompting the U.N. to slap tightened economic and arms sanctions on the North.
The visit by Liu to North Korea came days after Kerry ended a two-day visit to Beijing last Friday, during which he met with President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang. The topics included North Korea and its nuclear programs, both sides said.
Kerry told reporters in Beijing that he "encouraged the Chinese to use every tool" to realize the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.
Asked whether he won a specific commitment from the Chinese side to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, Kerry replied, "They made it very clear that if the North doesn't comply and come to the table and be serious about talks and stop its program ... they are prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure that their policy is implemented." (Yonhap)