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China Gains Russia’s Support on North Korea Issue

 
 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid an official visit to Russia from May 25 to 26 and had a talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Both ministers reached an agreement on that military means “should never be an option” for solving the North Korea issue.

During a press conference together with Lavrov, Wang said:

Regarding [the] Korean Peninsula, China advocates resolving the issue through peaceful means including dialogue and negotiations, on the basis of strict implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions… Military means can never solve the problem and will only bring greater problems and a serious consequence. Whether in the past or in the future, the military means should never be an option for any country. China and Russia have reached a high degree of consensus on this issue.

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Lavrov added to Wang’s speech:

All resolutions of the UN Security Council should be implemented… These resolutions assume that talks will continue and resume to search for a solely political solution to the issue… Everybody agrees the use of force scenarios would be disastrous. In that connection I would like to point to the recent statements by U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who said outright that the use of force in attempts to settle the Korean Peninsula’s problems would be harmful and catastrophic.

So far, the intense North Korea issue has shown some good signs of moving toward de-escalation; all relevant sides have expressed some extent of willingness to talk.

Shortly after South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in took office on May 10, Moon expressed his willingness to visit North Korea under the right conditions and have sincere negotiations.

On May 18, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, during his meeting with Moon’s special envoy, said that Washington has no intention of seeking regime change or invasion of North Korea, urging the Kim Jong-un regime to “trust us, instead of using back channels.”

On May 22, Wang revealed that Moon Jae-in had sent a heavyweight special envoy to China shortly after his election and said that both sides aimed to “remove the thorn stuck in the throat” of bilateral relations.

In particular, North Korea has also showed a softer stance, or at least in appearance. When asked if North Korea was preparing to hold talks with the United States, a senior North Korean diplomat said, “We’ll have dialogue if the conditions are there.”

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