China tells Trump to Stay Calm Amid Threats from North Korea
By Faith Magbanua, May 17, 2018 23:05 PM
After cancelling high-level talks with Seoul this week, Pyongyang said it may reconsider the June 12 summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
Calmness is key
China's foreign minister has called for the United States to react calmly to threats by North Korea to pull out of a summit between the two countries' leaders.
According to Foreign Minister Wang Yi, issues surrounding the Korean peninsula situation must be handled cautiously to avoid the diplomatic failures of the past.
Prior to the issue, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are set to meet in Singapore next month to converse about the denuclearization of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
However, North Korea have suddenly cancelled talks with the South this week and said that it might not attend the Singapore meetings after it was angered by military exercises conducted by the American and South Korean militaries.
On the other hand, Wang Yi, who is on official visit to Paris, said on Wednesday "all parties, especially the United States, should cherish this opportunity for peace and should not work as a barrier".
"Measures that North Korea has taken to ease tension on the Korean peninsula should be acknowledged," Wang added.
"To solve this problem, it's necessary for the two parties to work towards the same direction, not the opposite. What I would like to emphasize is that the current eased situation on the peninsula issue has been hard won," he said.
The prospect of a Trump-Kim summit had raised anticipations of a deal to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
North Korea said over the weekend that it would dismantle its nuclear test site, with a formal ceremony scheduled to take place between the 23rd and 25th of May 2018, in front of invited foreign media.
John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, said on Wednesday he thought the summit was likely to happen despite Pyongyang's threats.
However, Bolton expressed concerns over whether Kim would agree to the Washington's definition of what denuclearization means.
"If they haven't made a strategic decision that they are safer without nuclear weapons ... as President Trump said, it could be a pretty short meeting in Singapore," Bolton said in a radio interview.
Trump told reporters earlier this Wednesday that is still remains unclear if the summit would take place.
"We haven't seen anything, we haven't heard anything," he said.
The threat of North Korea to cancel the Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit, have garnered high-level talks within South Korea over the military drills.
Boo Seung-chan, a research fellow at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul, said it was in Beijing and Pyongyang's interests to work together ahead of the Trump-Kim summit.
"Whilst Beijing wants a stronger influence over the Korean peninsula through Pyongyang, Pyongyang wishes to build up its leverage through Beijing ahead of the Trump-Kim summit," said Boo. "In this way, the interests of the two countries are converging. Bilateral cooperation, including economic, may strengthen in the short-term."
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