China hails 'courage' of North, South Korean leaders

South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a tree-planting ceremony during the inter-Korean summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.
South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attend a tree-planting ceremony during the inter-Korean summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP, REUTERS) - China on Friday (April 27) heaped praised on the leaders of the two Koreas for holding a landmark summit, calling their handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides the peninsula a "historic moment".

"We applaud the Korean leaders' historic step and appreciate their political decisions and courage," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.

“We hope and look forward to them taking this opportunity to further open a new journey of long-term stability on the peninsula.”

Hua also cited a poem that reads: “We remain brothers after all the vicissitudes; let’s forgo our old grudges, smiling we will meet again.” 

China is North Korea’s sole major ally but it has supported a series of United Nations sanctions to punish Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile tests. Beijing has pressed for dialogue to peacefully resolve the nuclear crisis.

The Chinese foreign ministry also welcomed on Friday a joint statement by North and South Korea after their leaders pledged to work for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War. 

China hoped all parties can maintain the momentum for dialogue and can jointly promote the political resolution process for the Korean peninsula issue, the ministry said in a statement. 

China is willing to keep playing a pro-active role in this regard, it added.