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South Korea, China oppose North Korea's nuclear program in joint statement

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese leader Xi Jinping said they do not tolerate any future North Korea action that raises tensions.

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea, China oppose North Korea's nuclear program in joint statement
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo by Yonhap

BEIJING, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye and China's Xi Jinping jointly confirmed their opposition to North Korea's nuclear program in a historic announcement that could determine the future of Pyongyang's weapons development.

Yonhap reported Beijing and Seoul were united in their opposition against additional North Korea nuclear tests or missile launches -- a rare announcement from China, Pyongyang's close political ally.

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Xi and Park said the two countries do not tolerate any future North Korea action that raises tensions, a statement that complies with the September 19 Joint Statement from 2005 that prohibits North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile tests, as well as U.N. Security Council resolutions on North Korea that have imposed sanctions on the isolated country.

Yonhap reported Beijing and Seoul showed a united front specifically against any rocket launches that are likely to occur around Oct. 10, the 70th anniversary of North Korea's Workers' Party.

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Since 2005 North Korea has violated the denuclearization agreement on numerous occasions with claims that it had conducted underground nuclear tests and missile launches.

Implicit support from Beijing may no longer be at Pyongyang's disposal after Wednesday. China is one of five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and its vote often has carried veto power with regard to North Korea resolutions, but the statements from Xi and Park indicated a change in China's policy.

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The meeting was Park's sixth summit with the Chinese president since she assumed the presidency in 2013, The Korea Herald reported. Beijing and Seoul have grown closer along with booming trade ties, and the Chinese leader thanked Park for bringing their cooperation to the highest level of friendship.

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Park also said China played a constructive role in defusing recent tensions on the Korean peninsula through close communication, the first public admission from Seoul that Beijing played an important role into pressuring Pyongyang into an agreement on Aug. 25.

The two agreed to resume the stalled six-party talks with the aim of North Korea denuclearization and said a trilateral meeting with Tokyo may be planned for the near future.

North Korea's envoy Choi Ryong Hae arrived separately in Beijing on Wednesday, Yonhap reported, but quickly left in an embassy vehicle that was waiting at the airport upon his arrival.

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