BEIJING (Yonhap) ― Nations involved in the long-stalled multilateral talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program must bear in mind a “larger picture” for its resumption, China’s top diplomat said Saturday, as diplomatic efforts to bring new life into the talks have made little headway.
Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, whose rank is higher than the country’s foreign minister, also vowed to spare no efforts to resume the six-party talks ahead of an upcoming state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to South Korea, a trip widely expected to take place in the first week of July.
“China calls on all parties to proceed with a larger picture to work together to create conditions for the resumption of the six-party talks,” Yang told the third World Peace Forum, hosted by Tsinghua University in Beijing.
China will “make unremitting efforts to achieve durable peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Northeast Asian region,” he stressed.
“China is committed to achieving the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, to keeping the peninsula peaceful and stable, and to solving relevant issues through dialogue and consultation,” Yang said.
Time and patience were running short for diplomacy to resume the six-party forum. Pyongyang’s unpredictable regime, which has threatened to conduct its fourth nuclear test, has shown no signs of abandoning its nuclear ambitions.
Although South Korea and the United States have called on China to play a greater role in leading North Korea to demonstrate with action its commitment to denuclearize before any resumption of nuclear talks with the North can take place, Beijing’s efforts have still been more accommodating toward North Korea, South Korean diplomats said. China has been focused on reopening the talks first, while urging Seoul and Washington to lower their bar for talks.
North Korea conducted its third nuclear test early last year.
Since then, Pyongyang has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reopen the six-party talks “without preconditions.”
The six-party forum, which includes the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, has been dormant since late 2008.
Sino-Japanese relations had never been good because of their shared history, but they have deteriorated further because of a simmering territorial dispute involving a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
Yang called for Japan to develop “sound and steady relations in the spirit of taking history as a mirror.”
An increasingly assertive China has also been locked in bitter disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and other Asian neighbors over the South China Sea.
Commenting on the country’s disputes in the South China Sea, Yang said China will firmly maintain its territorial sovereignty but that he expects the disputes to be settled through dialogue.
“We will never trade our core interests or swallow the bitter fruits that undermine our sovereignty, security and development interests,” Yang said.