China: Xi urged Trump to ease DPRK sanctions 'in due course'
Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that President Xi Jinping asked the U.S. to lift some sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in due course during a meeting with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Japan's Osaka last month.
"President Xi elaborated on China's principled position on the (Korean) Peninsula issue during his meeting with President Trump in Osaka," said spokesperson Geng Shuang at a regular press briefing. "He encouraged the U.S. to be flexible, meet the DPRK halfway by lifting some sanctions in due course and doing other things, and find ways to resolve each other's concerns through dialogue."
Republic of Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday that the U.S. is mulling to offer a 12- to 18-month suspension of certain sanctions on the DPRK in exchange for the dismantlement of its main nuclear facility and a freeze of the entire nuclear program. The potential offer would see the suspension of sanctions restricting DPRK's exports of coal and textiles. However, the U.S. Department of State has not yet confirmed the report.
Geng said he noted the relevant reports, adding that it has been China's consistent position that the Security Council should, pursuant to provisions of relevant resolutions and taking into account positive progress on the Peninsula especially the DPRK's steps toward denuclearization, begin discussing invoking relevant provisions to modify sanctions at appropriate time, said the spokesperson.
Xi and Trump have both spoken with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un recently – Xi before the G20 summit during a trip to Pyongyang, and Trump after the G20 summit – when he met Kim at the Demilitarized Zone along DPRK's border with the ROK.
Trump said after his meeting with Kim that both sides would set up teams to push forward stalled talks aimed at getting the DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons, while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that would likely happen "sometime in July ... probably in the next two or three weeks."
"Under the current circumstances, we call on all relevant parties to view this issue in a constructive manner, stay in contact, engage in more dialogue, show flexibility, accommodate all parties' legitimate concerns in a balanced way and work for early realization of denuclearization on the Peninsula and lasting peace and stability of the region," said Geng.