China: N. Korea says de­nu­cle­ariza­tion re­mains goal

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - WORLD - By Christo­pher Bodeen The As­so­ci­ated Press

BEI­JING — 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 the North’s pro­grams to de­velop nu­clear weapons and the bal­lis­tic mis­siles to de­liver them.

Ri­told­wangth­at­northko­re­ais “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.

De­spite op­ti­mism gen­er­ated by Kim and Trump’s June sum­mit meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore, diplo­macy has come to a halt amid dis­putes overau.s.de­mandthat­northko­rea 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. war games on the penin­sula.

In ad­di­tion to sanc­tions re­lief, North Korea wants a dec­la­ra­tion on a for­mal close to the war and other mea­sures from the United States.

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