China's chief nuclear envoy, who arrived in Seoul on Sunday for talks with key South Korean officials on the North, said Beijing will faithfully carry out the upcoming U.N. resolution aimed at imposing stronger sanctions on Pyongyang.
Wu Dawei held his first meeting with his South Korean counterpart Hwang Joon-kook Sunday afternoon before holding talks with Seoul's foreign minister a day later, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His visit is aimed at coordinating the countries' response to North Korea's recent provocations.
"The two countries agreed to support the U.N. Security Council's adoption of a new resolution in response to the North's nuclear test and satellite launch," Wu told reporters after the meeting, adding Seoul and Beijing aim to make a joint effort for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
The United States and China have put together the draft resolution that is expected to be circulated soon among the other U.N. Security Council members for review.
Hwang also said after the meeting, "We have reached a consensus that the North needs to make qualitative improvement in thoughts and actions."
The dialogue between the countries' chief negotiators for the long-stalled six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea came after Washington and Beijing agreed on a set of stringent draft sanctions on North Korea for the recent tests.
As strategic partners, China and South Korea could discuss any kinds of issues between us," Wu said after arriving at Incheon International Airport earlier in the day.
On Jan. 6, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in defiance of United Nations resolutions and followed it up with a long-range rocket launch a month later.
The North said the launch was to put a satellite into orbit, but the outside world regards it as a cover for testing its long-range missile technology.
The planned talks between Hwang and Wu will likely touch upon some thorny issues between the neighbors, including how to jointly push North Korea into compliance with a fresh U.N. resolution.
Following the two recent provocations by the North, Seoul has been determined to put more pressure on Pyongyang, but Beijing has stricken a slightly different tone, highlighting dialogue over pressure.
The talks will likely be dominated by other salient issues, including the United States' push to deploy its advanced missile defense system, known as THAAD, in South Korea, which is strongly opposed by China.
Concerning Sunday's meeting, "There was absolutely no reference to the THAAD," Hwang said, adding that the U.N. resolution is expected to be passed "soon."
Other issues include separate sanctions on North Korea, which South Korea is planning to make in coordination with the U.S. and Japan.
On Monday, Wu will hold talks with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-seo and other key security officials before returning to China on Thursday. (Yonhap)