China calls for 'six-party' diplomacy on North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Sept. 19, 2017 at 3:49 PM
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Sept. 19 (UPI) -- China's foreign ministry is urging other countries to return to the "spirit" of the six-party talks and seeking more diplomatic cooperation on North Korea.

Beijing's diplomatic spokesman Lu Kang said Tuesday that China places value on the Sept. 19 joint statement of the six-party talks, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

"The Sept. 19 statement, through its political dialogue, holds milestone significance in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula," Lu said. "It is necessary to reflect on the contents of the statement today, on its 12th anniversary."

North Korea signed the statement in 2005, and subsequently gave up its nuclear ambitions, returning to the International Atomic Energy Agency after being kicked out of the organization for noncompliance.

In signing the statement, North Korea also received a critical security guarantee from the United States.

Washington pledged to not attack Pyongyang, and all six parties, including Russia, China, Japan and South Korea, agreed to pursue a long-term peace regime on the peninsula.

The agreement was violated in 2006, when North Korea conducted its first nuclear test.

"The core content of the agreement embodies the greatest common factor of each country," Lu said. "Is not [the core content] a common goal of relevant countries today?"

He added, "We believe that all relevant nations can go back to the principles and spirit of the joint statement and look for a solution to the nuclear issue on the peninsula."

North Korea's provocations were at the top of U.S. President Donald Trump's agenda on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly.

Trump said Pyongyang's weapons program is not negotiable and said it "threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life."

The U.S. State Department may also be considering eliminating the position of envoy for the six-party talks, according to a letter from State Secretary Rex Tillerson to Congress, submitted in August.

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