By Hong Soon-do, Beijing correspondent, AsiaToday
Ahead of President Moon Jae-in’s visit, China is stressing that the best solution to North Korea’s nuclear and missile development issue is dialogue. Apparently, its intention is to reduce the possibility of U.S.’ preemptive strike on North Korea that the Trump administration is considering, and create favorable international opinions over its dialogue drive instead with Moon’s state visit. If the right atmosphere is created, the Moon-Xi summit could serve as a momentum for a peaceful resolution over the North Korean nuclear and missile issue.
Such claim is highly convincing in recent remarks made by Chinese foreign ministry officials. One of the typical remarks was made by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the opening of ‘Symposium on International Developments and China’s Diplomacy’ held on Saturday, according to a Western source in Beijing on Sunday. He stressed dialogue to solve the North Korean issue, saying, “The situation on the Korean Peninsula, which has been caught up in a vicious cycle of provocation and confrontation, has remained grave. However, it’s important to highlight that the hope of peace remains alive, and the possibility of negotiation still exists.” He also pointed out that China is against U.S. unilateral actions against the North for whatever reason, saying, “On the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, China will not support or accept the demands of any party that go beyond the resolutions.”
We also need to focus on the remarks made by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a press briefing on Friday. “The essence of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is a security issue with the DPRK-US disputes at the core. As parties directly concerned in the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, the DPRK and the US should engage with each other and work to resolve this issue through dialogue and negotation.”
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zheng Zeguang’s recent visit to the U.S. can be seen in the same context. It seems that a series of U.S. visit by Chinese officials for dialogue has been after North Korea test-launched a Hwaseong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Nov. 29. In fact, Zheng met Matt Pottinger, the head of Asian affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, on Thursday to strongly urge dialogue between U.S. and North Korea.
That’s not all. Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong met with the United Nations’ political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman, who visited North Korea on Dec. 5, to urge U.S. to resume dialogue in order to prevent a military conflict between North Korea and the U.S..
Looking at the present situation, China’s efforts to solve the North Korean issue through a dialogue are likely to become more intense from now on. This is certainly the reason why many claim that the upcoming Moon-Xi summit can lead to an inflection point for it.