Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula amid ongoing diplomacy involving the U.S. that is seeking to revive the long-suspended six-party talks aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
Xi made the remarks at a meeting with a South Korean parliamentary delegation, led by Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Saenuri Party, at the Great Hall of the People.
"The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the basic stance of China towards the Korean Peninsula. We will make efforts to realize it," Xi told Chung in his opening remarks.
Citing the four-character Chinese idiomatic expression "When the City Gates Are on Fire, Misfortune Befalls the Fish in the Moat," Xi said China will continue "close cooperation" with South Korea to resolve the issue of North Korea's nuclear program.
The South Korean bipartisan delegation of 44 lawmakers arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a four-day visit, as part of programs to expand friendly ties between the two countries' legislatures.
South Korea and China, both victims of Japanese aggressions, have recently demonstrated solidarity in the face of the Japanese government's increasingly nationalist moves.
Chung said, "While relations between South Korea and China have been developing, the situation in Northeast Asia is being worsened, unfortunately."
"The biggest threats to Northeast Asia are North Korea's nuclear armament and the erroneous perception of history by Japanese politicians," Chung told Xi.
Chung urged Xi to make efforts for "Japanese politicians to change their erroneous perception of history" and "consider holding a summit among South Korea, China and Japan."
In Seoul, a senior Chinese diplomat held talks earlier in the day with his South Korean counterparts, immediately after leaving North Korea, where he said he had an "in-depth" discussion about the North's nuclear program.
The back-to-back trip to both Koreas by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin is highly unusual.
In a statement about the Friday talks in Seoul, China's foreign ministry said Liu briefed South Korean officials on his North Korea visit and voiced hope for "all parties" to work together to further ease tension on the Korean Peninsula.
After a series of meetings with Chinese leaders, including Xi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Beijing last week that both sides broached ideas on denuclearizing the North. (Yonhap)