China says US should cherish opportunity for peace on Korean peninsula

The Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, speaking in Paris where he is on an official visit on May 16, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (REUTERS, AFP) - The measures North Korea has taken to ease tension on the Korean peninsula should be acknowledged, and all other parties, especially the United States, should cherish the opportunity for peace, the Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, said.

Wang, a state councillor and foreign minister, made the comment on Wednesday in Paris, where he is on an official visit, China's foreign ministry said in a statement on its website.

On Wednesday (May 16) China called for North Korea and the US to go ahead with their historic summit as planned after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the scheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

The North also cancelled high-level talks due on Wednesday with Seoul because of US-South Korean military air exercises, denouncing the drills as a "rude and wicked provocation".

"The situation on the peninsula has eased up, which is worth cherishing," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular briefing.

"We hope... some of the high-level meetings that (the two sides) have been working towards can be held smoothly and... results can be achieved," Lu said.

"Only in this way can the easing up of the peninsula be consolidated, contributing to peace and stability in the region."

North Korea threatened to withdraw from the June 12 summit in Singapore if Washington seeks to push it into unilaterally giving up its nuclear arsenal.

"If the US is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue," first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by state media.

Lu called for all parties to "avoid mutual provocations and further tension, so that they can jointly provide the necessary conditions and atmosphere for a political settlement of the peninsula issue through dialogue."

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