(26 Jan 2018) China’s foreign ministry Friday called for direct dialogue between the United States and North Korea, given that the “core” of the prolonged tension lies in “differences” between the two countries.
“The core of the peninsular issue is the difference between the United States and North Korea, which should be dealt with by the parties concerned through direct contact and dialogue” said foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.
Referring to recent negotiations between North and South Korea over discussions on the Winter Olympics, China said it hoped the United States and the North would take the current thaw as an opportunity to re-engage in dialogue.
On the US Navy aircraft carrier that is expected to make a port visit to Vietnam in March, Hua said China welcomes such developments of “normal and friendly” relationships, as long as military interactions are “conducive to regional peace and stability.”
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made the announcement on Thursday in what would be the first such visit in the postwar era.
Mattis noted earlier this week that Vietnam’s proximity to the South China Sea makes the country a key player in disputes with China over territorial claims to islets, shoals and other small land formations in the sea.
China meanwhile said it is “strongly opposed” a government-sponsored exhibition that opened in Tokyo on Thursday that served to defend Japan’s territorial claims against neighbors.
The National Museum of Territory and Sovereignty displays replicas of historic documents that Japan says show its ownership of two sets of uninhabited islands, one also claimed by China and the other by South Korea.
The dispute with China has heated up in recent years, with Chinese coast guard ships sailing near the islands and their Japanese counterparts trying to chase them away.
The move comes ahead of Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono’s first visit to Beijing in his current position.
At Friday’s briefing, Hua expressed hope that his visit would help “drive forward” improvement and development of bilateral relations.
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