Kim Jong Un is willing to denuclearize, Xi Jinping says

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) prior to their summit talks in Osaka, Japan, on Thursday at the G-20 summit. Photo by Yonhap/EPA-EFE
June 27 (UPI) — Kim Jong Un’s “will to denuclearize” has remained unchanged and the North Korean leader seeks to resolve issues by dialogue, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday.Xi, who met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the G20 summit, was relaying a conversation he had had with Kim in Pyongyang, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The statement comes at a time when North Korean state media and foreign ministry have criticized U.S. policy, including sanctions. North Korea has also reportedly told the South to stop playing “mediator” in negotiations with the United States.

In private conversations with Xi, Kim appeared to be sending a different message.

The North Korean leader told his closest partner that he is “willing to promote reconciliation with South Korea, and that he is not seeking to change the trend of dialogue on the Korean Peninsula,” Seoul said.

In addition to a willingness to continue diplomacy with the outside world, Kim is trying to improve the livelihood of his people, Xi said.

Seoul’s presidential Blue House told reporters Thursday Xi told Moon Kim was working to build a “new strategic line” for the sake of economic development and improving people’s lives.

The Chinese leader also raised the issue of U.S. missile defense in the South during the meeting, Newsis reported.

China wants the THAAD battery removed completely, citing its monitoring capabilities, but Moon said the system stays in central South Korea if denuclearization is not reached.

Moon had also suggested denuclearization and a “resolution on THAAD” could take place simultaneously, a Blue House official told Newsis.

China is wary of U.S. surveillance, which can extend as far as its northeastern provinces.

China’s military said Thursday Beijing and Pyongyang are seeking “friendly exchange” following Xi’s visit to North Korea, according to Yonhap.

South Korea’s spy agency said the policy could mean the two countries could engage in “low-level military exchange” without expanding the trade in weapons.

North Korea is under heavy sanctions that ban the trade of arms and military equipment.


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