China calls for Korean peace efforts to continue

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (far right) meeting on the sidelines of the Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore yesterday. Mr Wang also met separately with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yest
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (far right) meeting on the sidelines of the Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Singapore yesterday. Mr Wang also met separately with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Wang Yi urges US and N. Korea to work to achieve Trump-Kim goals

Denuclearisation and the peace process on the Korean peninsula must move forward, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said yesterday after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho separately in Singapore.

He stressed the importance of this "very precious" consensus to achieve denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula and a mechanism for peace, reached by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump during their historic summit in Singapore on June 12.

Mr Pompeo had said earlier yesterday that "we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we are looking for", when asked about North Korea's continued effort to make bomb fuel and build new missiles.

Mr Wang told reporters after meeting several of his counterparts from the region: "We should work hard to achieve it (Trump-Kim consensus) and not give up halfway and move backwards."

He added that China hopes the US will agree to reasonable requests from North Korea over the course of their negotiations.

"Of course, negotiations cannot all be smooth-sailing, especially on an issue this complicated and sensitive," said Mr Wang. "But since the direction has been set, we should continue to move forward steadfastly so that our friends in North Korea will continue to (support) denuclearisation."

COOPERATION CRUCIAL 

As the world’s first two largest economies, we should maintain communication at all times. I stressed to him that cooperation is the only correct option for China and the US. It is the common hope of the international community, whereas confrontation will only bring about a lose-lose situation which will damage the world’s peace, security and development. That is not something we want to see. So, based on this approach, we have reached a consensus, and we have also exchanged our views on current affairs.

CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER WANG YI, on his discussions with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the US-China trade conflict.

During their Singapore summit, Mr Trump and Mr Kim committed to work towards denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, but did not spell out how it might be achieved.

Mr Pompeo told a US Senate committee hearing last month that North Korea was continuing to produce fuel for nuclear bombs in spite of its pledge.

Asked about this en route to Singapore yesterday for the Asean-US ministerial meeting, Mr Pompeo told reporters: "Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearise. The world demanded that they (North Korea) do so in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

"To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are in violation of one or both of the UNSC resolutions, and we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we are looking for."

Mr Wang said overcoming difficulties in US-North Korea negotiations is key, and that he encouraged Mr Pompeo and Mr Ri to build trust and implement the consensus that their leaders reached in June.

"The direction is correct, although the process might be long and winding. But there is agreement on the direction, which is beneficial to the region and to world peace at large. Therefore, we should follow through on it."

Mr Wang also said he talked with Mr Pompeo on improving China-US trade relations. The US has imposed 25 per cent tariffs on US$34 billion (S$46 billion) of imports from China, and is threatening to do the same on another US$200 billion. China has vowed to retaliate.

"We have stated our position clearly, that we wish to negotiate with the US on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect," said Mr Wang. "He (Pompeo) was accommodating on this as a direction, and said that he does not want current frictions to continue."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'China calls for Korean peace efforts to continue'. Print Edition | Subscribe