North Korea tells China it's committed to denuclearization


North Korea's foreign minister said his country remains committed to ending its nuclear weapons program in talks Friday with his Chinese counterpart, according to China's foreign ministry.

The talks in Beijing between Ri Yong Ho and Wang Yi came amid a lack of progress in international efforts to persuade North Korea to reverse its drive to build a nuclear arsenal.

China is North Korea's most important ally, but has agreed to increasingly strict United Nations economic sanctions over its programs to develop nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to deliver them.

Ri told Wang that North Korea is "committed to realizing denuclearization and safeguarding the peace and stability of the (Korean) peninsula," ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a daily briefing.

In the talks, Ri was also expected to have been briefed on discussions last week between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump, who recently said his next meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would likely happen in January or February.

Ri later paid a courtesy call on Xi, who told him, "The international and regional situation as well as the situation on the Korean Peninsula remains in flux."

"So timely exchanges and the coordination of positions between China and North Korea are still extremely essential," Xi said.

Despite initial optimism generated by Kim and Trump's June summit meeting in Singapore, diplomacy has since come to a halt amid disputes over a U.S. demand that North Korea first produce a full inventory of its nuclear weapons and take other denuclearization steps before winning significant outside rewards.

China, which fought on North Korea's behalf in the 1950-53 Korean War, has suggested a more staggered approach, including a suspension of large-scale South Korean and U.S. wargames on the peninsula.

In addition to sanctions relief, North Korea wants a declaration on a formal close to the war, which ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, and other reciprocal measures from the United States. North Korea has argued that it has taken some steps, like dismantling its nuclear testing facility and releasing American detainees.

While traditionally close ties between China and North Korea have frayed somewhat, Xi hosted Kim for three summits in China this year, both before and after his Singapore meeting with Trump.

However, Xi did not attend celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding in September, seen as a sign that Beijing expected more concrete steps by Kim toward denuclearization.

Despite that, Geng said bilateral relations had "entered a new historic stage," and the sides would "continue forging ahead with the development of the peninsular situation in the direction of denuclearization."

Ri's visit also comes amid intense speculation over the possibility that Kim will visit South Korea this month, in what would be the first such trip by a North Korean leader since the war.


Reader Comments


Next Up in Nation World

Before his death, man leaves girl, 2, Christmas gifts for the next 14 years
Before his death, man leaves girl, 2, Christmas gifts for the next 14 years

A man in Wales made sure he could bring Christmas cheer to a young neighbor long after his death. >> Read more trending news  Ken Watson, 87, died recently, but the family of 2-year-old Cadi Owens was shocked to learn that their elderly neighbor left Christmas presents to give their daughter for the next 14 years, the BBC reported....
Police: 6-month-old girl survives after dad admits trying to drown her in icy pond
Police: 6-month-old girl survives after dad admits trying to drown her in icy pond

Police in Missouri revived a 6-month-old baby found floating in an icy retention pond and arrested the child’s father, who said he had attempted to drown his daughter, KMBC reported. >> Read more trending news  Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli, 28, of Greenwood, is accused of first-degree domestic assault, the Kansas City...
Watch: Train crashes into tractor-trailer in Texas
Watch: Train crashes into tractor-trailer in Texas

The driver of a tractor-trailer that stalled on railroad tracks in a Texas town escaped injury when his vehicle was hit by a train Tuesday afternoon, KOSA reported. >> Read more trending news  According to Midland officials, the driver of the truck scrambled out of the train’s way in time and called 911, the television station...
Morning frost expected; warmer temperatures later in the day 
Morning frost expected; warmer temperatures later in the day 

Warmer than normal today Rain returns Thursday Rain may mix with snow showers Friday TODAY: A chilly morning with temperatures in the upper 20s and possible frost, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Sunshine early, and then increasing clouds through the day. Highs near 50 degrees, which is much warmer than normal. THURSDAY...
California woman charged after daughter, 8, killed by train
California woman charged after daughter, 8, killed by train

A California woman was arrested on felony child neglect charges Tuesday after her 8-year-old daughter was killed by a train near downtown Fresno, KFSN reported. >> Read more trending news  Joy Frances Collins, 44, had urged her daughter and 9-year-old son to cross the tracks Monday around 6 p.m. because they were trying to catch a bus...
More Stories