China hails 'great significance' of Kim-Trump summit

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un stand on North Korean soil while walking to South Korea in the Demilitarised Zone(DMZ) on June 30, 2019.
US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un stand on North Korean soil while walking to South Korea in the Demilitarised Zone(DMZ) on June 30, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China on Monday (July 1) hailed the "great significance" of the weekend meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, and urged all sides to "seize the opportunity" to make progress towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Trump on Sunday stepped into North Korean territory in the Demilitarised Zone, the first time a sitting US president has ever set foot in the former enemy country.

Moments after the historic gesture, Trump brought Kim back over the dividing line separating North and South Korea for a meeting where they agreed to start working-level talks on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons.

"These developments should be welcomed," Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing.

"In particular, the DPRK and the United States agreed to resume working level consultations soon, which is of great significance. China supports this," Geng said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The historic DMZ meeting came around a week after Xi Jinping visited Pyongyang - the first trip there by a Chinese president in 14 years as the two Cold War era allies further mended ties that cooled over North Korea's nuclear activities and Beijing's subsequent support for UN sanctions against its neighbour.

Geng said Xi's recent visit to Pyongyang had "injected new impetus" into the nuclear talks.

 
 
 

He urged both sides to "seize the opportunity, move in the same direction and actively explore effective solutions to each other's concerns" to ensure progress in efforts to denuclearise the peninsula.

Analysts had said Xi might use his visit to North Korea as leverage when he met Trump for talks on their trade spat at the G-20 summit in Japan at the weekend.

Xi and Trump agreed on Saturday to a ceasefire in the trade war, with the US leader vowing to hold off on further tariffs on Chinese imports as negotiations continue.