Xi: China supports better ties between DPRK and ROK
China supports the improvement of relations between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to "jointly maintain regional peace and stability", said Chinese President Xi Jinping during a phone conversation with ROK President Moon Jae-in on Thursday.
Xi and Moon both agreed to work together to ensure the inter-Korean dialogue leads to peace in the region.
Earlier this week, Pyongyang and Seoul held their first high-level talks in over two years to discuss DPRK’s participation in next month’s Olympic Games in the ROK.
Following the formal talks, Pyongyang announced it was sending athletes, senior officials, cheering squads and journalists to PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
During the 30-minute call, Xi said he supported Moon's stance that the advancement of inter-Korean ties and the denuclearization of the Peninsula should "go in parallel", Moon's office said in a statement.
"The two leaders agreed to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation," the statement said.
It added that the two leaders hoped the latest dialogue effort would lead to a peaceful resolution of DPRK's nuclear issue and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula, beyond next month's Olympics.
Seoul and Beijing agreed in October to move beyond a year-long stand-off over the deployment of a US THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a dispute that has been devastating to South Korean businesses that rely on Chinese consumers.
In a telephone call on Wednesday, Moon and US President Donald Trump also said the dialogue "could naturally lead to talks between the United States and [the DPRK] for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics."
Washington welcomed the talks as a first step towards resolving the crisis over DPRK's program to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, but it has reiterated that any talks involving the US must be aimed at the North's denuclearization.
However, Pyongyang said it would not discuss its nuclear weapons because they were aimed only at the United States and not its "brethren" in China, Russia and South Korea, showing that a diplomatic breakthrough to the crisis remains far off.