Seoul envoy thanks Xi for 'big role' in NKorea nuclear talks

A T-50A trainer jet takes off during an air show in the United States

A T-50A trainer jet takes off during an air show in the United States

China is looking forward to smooth talks between the United States and North Korea, President Xi Jinping told the head of South Korea's National Security Office on Monday, state media said.

Trump agreed on Friday to meet with Kim Jong-un by the end of May and the two Koreas are due to hold their own summit by the end of April.

By way of geography, its growing influence and established interest on the Korean Peninsula, China "was bound to play an important role in promoting denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in particular and shaping the geopolitical order in Northeast Asia in general", Cheng wrote.

Kang's trip comes as Seoul steps up efforts to broker talks between the USA and North Korea to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and achieve the denuclearization of North Korea.

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"We are very grateful to China for its consistent position", he said.

Chung renewed Moon's invitation for Xi to visit Seoul.

In his first-ever meeting with South Korean officials, the North Korean leader said his country was willing to denuclearize in exchange for a security guarantee, according to Chung.

While China supports maintaining sanctions for the time being, it is prepared to restore its trading relationship with the North in the event of a breakthrough in order to "create a favourable external environment for North Korea's sustainable economic development", Cheng wrote.

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Earlier, China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told Chung that Beijing "will continue to realize the goal of denuclearization, uphold the peaceful unification of the peninsula, and solve problems through dialogue and consultation".

Ahead of her visit, Lee Do-hoon, the foreign ministry's chief negotiator on the North Korean nuclear issue, will travel to the USA on Wednesday to arrange the foreign ministerial talks, according to the ministry. Trump has repeatedly urged China to do more to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear program.

Still, some in China are afraid the country, which hosted failed six-nation talks on the nuclear issue a decade ago, could be cut out of negotiations on denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

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