China's top diplomat calls for 'synchronized action' on North Korea at U.N.

By Elizabeth Shim
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday at the 74th U.N. General Assembly Beijing supports a "political settlement" on the Korean Peninsula. Photo by Elizabeth Shim/UPI
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday at the 74th U.N. General Assembly Beijing supports a "political settlement" on the Korean Peninsula. Photo by Elizabeth Shim/UPI

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for a "political settlement" on the Korean Peninsula in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, calling North Korea's recent diplomacy an opportunity that "must not be missed again."

Wang, who met with his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong Ho, in Pyongyang in early September, said the United States and North Korea should "build trust through synchronized actions."


"The way forward is parallel progress in denuclearization," Wang said, referring to a step-by-step denuclearization supported by Beijing.

China has advocated for various measures, including the easing of North Korea sanctions in return for progress in Pyongyang's denuclearization.

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The top Chinese diplomat, who previously represented Beijing at the six-party talks on North Korea denuclearization, also said North Korea has been meeting the United States "halfway."

"North Korea is meeting the United States halfway, rolling back terms, in order to bolster the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue," Wang said.

The foreign minister did not mention the Kim regime's recent tests of weapons systems, including short-range missiles.

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Wang said China supports the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the bilateral agreement between Washington and Moscow from which the United States formally withdrew in early August.


The foreign minister also said China is opposed to land-based intermediate range missiles in the region, without mentioning the United States by name.

"Permanent members of the U.N. Security Council need to lead by example," Wang said. In August, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper revealed plans to deploy intermediate-range missiles, which drew condemnations from China and North Korea. Critics have said any potential deployment in the Asia-Pacific would make China strengthen their defenses even more.

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Wang defended China's economic policies -- decisions from a "centralized leadership" that has made the Chinese "true masters" of their country.

"We are an open country on the move," Wang said. "We achieved what took other countries several hundred years to complete," after being "torn apart and trampled apart.

"China is pursuing a new round of opening up, offering new opportunities to the world."

The foreign minister also targeted remarks made earlier in the week by U.S. President Donald Trump, without mentioning the United States by name.

"Unilateralism and protectionism are posing major threats to the international order," Wang said. "Globalization is beneficial to all. We do not seek unilateral security. We do not put our interests above the interests of others."


On Tuesday, Trump said at the United Nations that China had "gamed the system at others' expense."

"Globalism exerted a religious pull over past leaders, causing them to ignore their own national interests," Trump said.

The United States and China are expected to resume trade talks on Oct. 10.

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