The leaders of South Korea and China agreed to work closely together for the success of a possible second summit between the United States and North Korea during their summit on Saturday, Seoul’s presidential office said.
President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, met to discuss peace efforts on the Korean Peninsula and other issues on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Papua New Guinea.
|President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph ahead of the summit meeting in Papua New Guinea on Saturday. Yonhap|
“The two leaders judged that the second North Korea-US summit and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul will mark a crucial turning point for the resolution of Korean Peninsula issues,” Kim Eui-kyeom, Moon’s spokesman, told reporters after the summit.
The fourth summit between Moon and Xi came as Moon pushes to elicit international support to keep Pyongyang on a denuclearization track amid an apparent lack of progress in its negotiations with Washington.
At the talks, Xi threw his support behind Moon’s efforts to establish peace on the peninsula, saying China will continue to play a “constructive” role.
Xi also expressed his intention to actively support the Koreas’ push to jointly host the 2032 summer Olympics, saying that it will contribute to the development of cross-border relations and the establishment of peace, Kim said.
In addition, Xi said he has received the North Korean leader’s invitation to visit Pyongyang and that he is considering traveling to the North next year.
Their latest summit started with an exchange of views on the ongoing peace efforts.
“As the two countries’ strategic interests of peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia coincide, I hope we can cooperate more closely on the development of China-South Korea relations and the peace process on the peninsula,” Moon said.
Noting the opening of an “unprecedented era of peace” on the peninsula this year, Moon expressed his appreciation for Xi’s “constructive role” in progress on the peace efforts.
The Chinese leader said in turn that bilateral cooperation on stabilizing the situation on the divided peninsula has been “very effective.”
“In terms of cooperating with neighboring countries, pursuing peace and safety on the peninsula and implementing an equal, fair order, China and South Korea have similar positions,” Xi said.
He then stressed the need to strengthen bilateral “strategic communication,” which he said serves the two countries’ shared interests.
“We should continue to play a positive role in continuing to deepen the two countries’ strategic communication and maintaining an enduring peace and prosperity in this region,” he said.
The South Korean leader also called for joint efforts in addressing a range of pending issues, such as ultra-fine dust pollution.
Observers anticipated that the two sides might discuss how to bridge the gap between Washington and Pyongyang in their nuclear negotiations.
The North has sought US concessions vis a vis its demands for a declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War — apparently as a way to guarantee its regime security — and sanctions relief.
But the US has insisted that Pyongyang should first take concrete measures, such as a full declaration of its nuclear and missile programs, before any rewards could be given, particularly amid reports that the reclusive regime is continuing its weapons program.
The two leaders last met in December, when Moon made a state visit to Beijing. Moon is set to return home Sunday. (Yonhap)