China hails N. Korea’s n-site demolition, asks US to be positive

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Beijing, May 25 (IANS) China on Friday said Pyongyang’s move to dismantle its nuclear test site reflected its intent to ease the tensions in the Korean peninsula and hoped that the US moves in a positive direction, a day after American President Donald Trump called off his scheduled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

China also brushed aside Trump’s insinuation that a sudden change in the North’s attitude — from soft to belligerent — had to do with Beijing’s influence on Pyongyang.

It urged both the countries to be patient and move in the positive direction and said the matter was between them and Beijing had a limited role in it.

“China’s position on this issue is consistent and clear-cut. We believe that as a party concerned to the issue, the DPRK-US summit can play a role in promoting the denuclearization of the peninsula,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

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“Under the current circumstances, we hope both DPRK and the US can cherish the recent positive progress, stay patient, demonstrate goodwill, move in the same direction, continue to stay committed to promote the denuclearization of the peninsula and resolve the legitimate concerns through dialogue and consultation.”

On Thursday, Trump took the world by surprise by announcing to cancel the one-on-one meet with Kim in Singapore next month after hectic parleys and a flurry of diplomatic activities. He blamed Pyongyang’s renewed “hostility” for his move.

The decision came hours after the North scrapped its nuclear test site, with the international media recording the event.

“From the TV, we can see that the DPRK has taken concrete measures to dismantle its nuclear test site. China welcomes it as an important step… It is of positive significance…. worth acknowledging and encouraging,” Lu said.

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“We hope relevant parties can continue to move in the same direction and stay committed to the dialogue and consultation to promote the denuclearization and political settlement of the peninsula issue,” Lu added.

After announcing the shock move, Trump hinted Beijing’s role in the North’s hardened stand.

In the run-up to the summit, Kim’s government had threatened to pull out of the summit as it said it felt heavily pressured because of the US demand that Pyongyang destroys its nuclear arsenal to receive the economic benefits.

Prior to this, North Korea cancelled its meet with the South in the wake of military drill between Seoul and Washington.

“Our position remains unchanged… When holding talks with the DPRK and the US, China has always stated our position in this regard,” Lu said, responding to a question about Beijing’s role in influencing the North.

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“At the same time, we have also said that political settlement of the issue call on all relevant parties especially the parties directly concerned to move in the same direction and demonstrate goodwill.”

–IANS

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