China’s Xi hopes US, N. Korea will ‘meet half­way’

Observer on Saturday - - News -

- Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping of­fered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un firm back­ing in dead­locked nu­clear talks with the US, in­sist­ing the two sides should meet ‘half­way’, state me­dia said on Thurs­day.

Kim vis­ited Bei­jing by train this week for two days of dis­cus­sions that re­asserted China’s role in the process, and were seen as a strat­egy ses­sion ahead of a sec­ond sum­mit be­tween the North Korean leader and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

At their first meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore in June, Kim and Trump signed a vaguely worded doc­u­ment with Kim pledg­ing to work to­ward the “de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean penin­sula”.

But progress has since stalled with Py­ongyang and Wash­ing­ton - which sta­tions 28 500 troops in South Korea - dis­agree­ing over what that means.

North Korea wants re­lief from the mul­ti­ple sets of sanc­tions im­posed on it over its nu­clear weapons and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grammes, while the US wants the mea­sures to re­main in place un­til Py­ongyang gives up its arms - something it has made no pub­lic prom­ise to do.

China also wants the sanc­tions re­laxed and Xi said he “hopes that the DPRK and the United States will meet each other half­way” ac­cord­ing to China’s state news agency Xin­hua, us­ing the initials of the North’s of­fi­cial name. Xi “spoke highly of the pos­i­tive mea­sures taken by the DPRK side”, it added.

North Korea has car­ried out six nu­clear blasts and launched mis­siles ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the whole of the US, but has per­formed no such tests for more than a year, and blew up the en­trances to a nu­clear test­ing ground it said it no longer needed.

Py­ongyang has re­jected de­mands for what it calls its “uni­lat­eral” dis­ar­ma­ment as “gang­ster-like”.

China is the North’s sole ma­jor ally and key trade part­ner but re­la­tions had de­te­ri­o­rated over Py­ongyang’s nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties, be­fore warm­ing up last year, with Kim meet-

BEI­JING

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