South Korea says China has agreed to cooperate in opposing North Korea’s threat to test a fourth nuclear device. The agreement was reached during a meeting with China’s visiting top diplomat in anticipation of a state visit by President Xi Jinping. China has been reluctant to publicly and explicitly warn its neighbor and historic ally against the tests.
A statement issued said the two sides would strengthen cooperation against North Korea’s nuclear tests and urge meaningful dialogue for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear programs. The statement said they agreed not to accept North Korea as a nuclear power.
The two Ministers also discussed an expected visit to South Korea by China’s President Xi Jinping that could come as early as June. South Korea’s Joongang Daily newspaper reports it would be the first visit by a Chinese president to Seoul before visiting Pyongyang in nearly two decades. That would send a signal to North Korea that while China is increasingly uneasy with its old ally it is becoming closer to its historic enemy.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator met with former U.S. officials in Mongolia last week to discuss the issue. Although unofficial, the talks were seen as a positive step to possibly reviving negotiations.
The China-hosted denuclearization talks with the two Koreas, Japan, Russia, and the United States were last held in 2008. Since then, North Korea tested a second and third nuclear explosive and numerous rockets before declaring its intention to talk.