Moon: China plays important role in Korean Peninsula peace process
Updated 09:56, 13-Jan-2019
Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in praised China's many positive roles in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and the settlement of peace as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) Kim Jong Un is on his trip to China this week.
Moon made the remarks on Thursday during his New Year press conference, adding that the possible Seoul visit by Kim, and the second U.S.-DPRK summit will take place "soon."
Kim's trip to China this week is a sign that a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump is "imminent," Moon added.
"I think Chairman Kim Jong Un's visit to China will have a very positive effect on the success of the second U.S.-North Korea (DPRK) summit," Moon told reporters.
Moon also urged the DPRK to take "more bold, practical measures for denuclearization" while telling the U.S. side to take corresponding measures.
"Corresponding measures must be devised in order to facilitate North Korea's (DPRK) continued denuclearization efforts," he added, such as the U.S. agreeing a "peace regime" and formally declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Why are Xi and Kim meeting now?

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday held talks with Kim Jong Un, who arrived in Beijing earlier on the same day.
In a cordial and friendly atmosphere, the two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and issues of common concerns and reached important consensus.
This is Kim's first visit to China in 2019. But why are Xi and Kim meeting now?
- Diplomatic ties anniversary
President Xi pointed out that Kim's visit to China at the beginning of 2019, which marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the China-DPRK diplomatic relationship, fully embodied the great importance Kim attaches to the two countries' traditional friendship and his friendship with the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people. 
For his part, Kim said with this visit he hoped to push for DPRK-China friendly ties to be consolidated and improved with each passing day and appreciated Chinese efforts made to the Korean Peninsula issue.
- A balancing act with Washington
According to the UK-based political analyst Tom Fowdy, China and DPRK are seeking to carefully hedge against the United States accordingly, to ensure that as high-stake negotiations continue, the interests of neither party are intruded or exposed in light of any potential future agreements. 
Kim is seeking to diversify his diplomatic options in order to build political space in dealing with Washington, aiming to give himself greater negotiating leverage in the view of avoiding outright capitulation to American demands, said the analyst.
Read more:
From China's point of view, repairing and sustaining the relationship between the two countries is an essential foreign policy goal. Although Beijing has never been hostile or belligerent to the DPRK, the two countries are seeing some disagreements on specific issues, such as DPRK's nuclear activities.
With China continuing to have an interest the Korean Peninsula due to its proximity, this is critical, if the U.S. can make diplomatic gains with DPRK in negotiations without Beijing's involvement, it would come at China's expense, hurting the country's strategic environment, Fowdy noted.
- Kim hopes for more trips to China for study and exchanges
Kim said that having visited China four times in less than a year, he was deeply impressed by the achievements made in China's economic and social development as well as the Chinese people's spirit and character of striving for the country's prosperity. 
The DPRK side considers China's development experience most valuable and hopes for more trips to China for study and exchanges, he said.
DPRK's Mount Kumgang, September 20, 2018. /VCG Photo 

DPRK's Mount Kumgang, September 20, 2018. /VCG Photo 

Inter-Korean projects: Conditions 'already met'

Conditions for resuming key economic projects between the DPRK and the ROK have already been met, Moon stressed during the press conference.
"The prerequisites for the two Koreas resuming operation of the Kaesong Complex and Mount Kumgang tourism have essentially been met already," Moon told reporters, adding that Seoul would seek to "resolve" the issue of international sanctions on the DPRK "as soon as possible".
The ROK president also hails the DPRK leader's offer to some cooperation projects.
"The Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mount Kumgang tour project were beneficial to both South (ROK) and North Korea (DPRK). (I) welcome North Korea (DPRK)'s intention very much to resume (the operations) without any condition and compensation," Moon said in the televised press conference.
Moon's remarks came in response to the overtures that Kim made during his New Year's speech earlier this month.
Kim said he is willing to reopen the inter-Korean factory park in DPRK's border town of Kaesong and resume the tours by ROK people to the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang "without any preconditions."
(With inputs from agencies)