China’s Xi urges N. Korea, US to meet half­way

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Fri­day told North Korea’s for­eign min­is­ter that he hoped North Korea and the United States could meet each other half­way and ad­dress each other’s rea­son­able con­cerns, China’s For­eign Min­istry said.

China is the North’s most im­por­tant eco­nomic and diplo­matic backer, de­spite anger over its neigh­bor’s nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams. Ties have warmed in the last year as Py­ongyang’s re­la­tions with both Seoul and Wash­ing­ton have also im­proved, Reuters wrote.

At a land­mark June sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore, the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pledged to work to­wards de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, but the pact was sketchy and talks since have made lit­tle head­way.

Xi “hoped North Korea and the United States meet each other half­way and ad­dress each other’s rea­son­able con­cerns, al­low­ing pos­i­tive progress on the penin­sula’s nu­clear talks,” the Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry said in a state­ment.

In com­ments made be­fore re­porters, Xi added, “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.”

North Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho said its com­mit­ment to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and safe­guard­ing peace and sta­bil­ity on the Korean penin­sula were un­changed, the For­eign Min­istry added.

Meet­ing the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s top diplo­mat Wang Yi ear­lier, Ri said North Korea hoped to build “re­quired mu­tual trust” with the United States and “move in the same di­rec­tion”, it said.

Ri, who is due to leave China on Satur­day, vis­ited Syria this week.

Kim has vis­ited China three times this year to meet Xi. Diplo­matic sources say Xi will prob­a­bly go to North Korea at some point soon.

Last month, South Korea said Xi in­tended to visit North Korea next year at Kim’s in­vi­ta­tion, which would make Xi the first Chi­nese leader to do so since 2005.

Last week­end, Trump said he was likely to meet Kim again in Jan­uary or Fe­bru­ary, with three pos­si­ble sites be­ing con­sid­ered for their se­cond meet­ing.

The two coun­tries have held talks over a se­cond meet­ing af­ter the un­prece­dented June sum­mit, Reuters re­ported in Oc­to­ber, cit­ing a se­nior of­fi­cial. Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel on Fri­day of­fered a staunch de­fense of her mod­er­ate course dur­ing 18 years as party leader, as her Chris­tian Demo­cratic Union chose be­tween a loyal deputy and a long­time ri­val to suc­ceed her.

Ac­cept­ing a lengthy stand­ing ova­tion from del­e­gates, many tear­ful and hold­ing “Thanks, boss” plac­ards aloft, a vis­i­bly moved Merkel said the party had won four na­tional elec­tions un­der her by hold­ing fast to its prin­ci­ples, AFP re­ported.

“In dif­fi­cult times we shouldn’t for­get our Chris­tian and demo­cratic stance,” she said.

Point­ing to the rise of pop­ulism world­wide and what she called a break­down of shared Western val­ues, Merkel said the or­der she had cham­pi­oned was at risk.

“Whether it’s the re­jec­tion of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, the re­turn to na­tion­al­ism, the re­duc­tion of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to deal-mak­ing or threat­ened trade wars... hy­brid war­fare, desta­bi­liza­tion of so­ci­eties with fake news or the fu­ture of our EU – we Chris­tian Democrats must show in the face of all these chal­lenges what we’ve got,” she said.

The two main can­di­dates, CDU gen­eral sec­re­tary An­negret Kramp-kar­ren­bauer, known as AKK, and cor­po­rate lawyer Friedrich Merz are locked in a bat­tle over whether to em­brace or break with the vet­eran chan­cel­lor’s le­gacy.

A third con­tender, Health Min­is­ter Jens Spahn, 38, an out­spo­ken critic of Merkel’s 2015 de­ci­sion to wel­come more than one mil­lion asy­lum seek­ers to Ger­many, is run­ning a dis­tant third.

Merkel sur­prised the coun­try and her party in late Oc­to­ber when she an­nounced she would not seek re­elec­tion as CDU leader at the party con­fer­ence in Ham­burg af­ter a series of poll set­backs rooted in con­tro­versy over her lib­eral refugee pol­icy.

The con­test’s out­come is ex­pected to be cru­cial in de­cid­ing whether the in­flu­en­tial leader can re­al­ize her stated goal of com­plet­ing her fourth term in 2021 and then leav­ing pol­i­tics.

“I hope we emerge from this party con­fer­ence well-equipped, mo­ti­vated and united,” Merkel said. “I am con­fi­dent we will suc­ceed.”

Merkel has led Ger­many since 2005, and moved her party steadily to­ward the po­lit­i­cal cen­tre. More gen­er­ous fam­ily leave, an exit from nu­clear power and an end to mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion are among her sig­na­ture poli­cies.


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