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China wants U.S., North Korea to ease tensions, envoy says

By Elizabeth Shim
China wants U.S., North Korea to ease tensions, envoy says
Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Liu Jieyi, told reporters on Monday China cannot bear primary responsibility for increased tensions on the Korean peninsula. File Photo by Andrew Gombert/EPA

July 31 (UPI) -- China's ambassador to the United Nations challenged notions Beijing should do more to curb North Korea provocations, while suggesting the joint U.S.-South Korea decision to deploy the missile defense system THAAD is destabilizing the region.

Amb. Liu Jieyi told reporters at the United Nations on Monday the decision is up to the United States and North Korea, and not China, to resolve tensions, Yonhap reported.

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The public statement follows tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump, sent Saturday, expressing disappointment over China's decision to do "nothing" for the United States in relation to Pyongyang.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley had also said in a statement on Sunday that the "time for talk is over" and that "China must decide whether it is finally willing to take this vital step" to impose the strongest sanctions that would stop North Korea.

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"The time for talk is over. The danger the North Korean regime poses to international peace is now clear to all," Amb. Haley's statement read.

Liu's statements at the U.N. press conference challenged Haley's claims.

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The United States and North Korea "hold the primary responsibility to keep things moving, to start moving in the right direction, not China," Liu said. "No matter how capable China is, China's efforts will not yield practical results because it depends on the two principal parties."

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The Chinese diplomat emphasized negotiation and dialogue in resolving the nuclear problem, but did not suggest talks could serve the same purpose in the ongoing dispute over THAAD.

Liu instead described the deployment of THAAD, and South Korea's recent decision to deploy four additional launchers, as having a "negative impact on the strategic stability of the region."

China's foreign ministry recently called in the South Korean ambassador to Beijing to protest the decision, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

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