In FM talks, China backs declaration of formal end to Korean War

BEIJING/SEOUL, China’s top diplomat made it clear that his country supports the two Koreas’ drive for the declaration of a formal end to the Korean War, according to his ministry Thursday.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi reaffirmed Beijing’s position in one-on-one talks with South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha in New York Wednesday (local time).

Wang cited a recent “important change” in the security conditions on the peninsula. The leaders of the two Koreas held another round of summit talks last week, which produced a set of agreements on denuclearization and peace efforts.

“China is supportive of the Korean Peninsula end-of-war declaration,” the minister was quoted as saying. “China also supports an improvement in South-North relations and North Korea-U.S. dialogue.”

He called for the acceleration of a “political process” to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue in cooperation with other parties involved.

China is a signatory to the 1953 Armistice Agreement that effectively finished the conflict, along with North Korea and the U.S.-led U.N. forces.

The envisioned war-ending proclamation is regarded as a starting point for a peace regime on the peninsula.

Kang, in response, asked the Chinese government to keep playing a “constructive” role in the peace process and agreed to maintain close communication between Seoul and Beijing.

Kang also had separate talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly session.

She emphasized the need for the neighboring countries to work together to “wisely” deal with the controversy over a foundation established to help and commemorate the South Korean victims of Tokyo’s wartime sexual slavery.

During his summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe in New York a day earlier, South Korean President Moon Jae-in hinted at plans to dissolve the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation, questioning its effectiveness amid resistance from the surviving victims and South Korean citizens.

It was created with 1 billion yen (US$9.5 million) provided by Tokyo in accordance with the 2015 agreement with Seoul to address the sex slavery issue that has long been an irritant in bilateral ties.

Many South Koreans believe Japan has yet to be held accountable for the past atrocity. They want the deal inked by the previous Park Geun-hye administration to be scrapped.

Kang is also pushing for talks with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, an official in Seoul said.

If held, it would be their first bilateral talks.

“With regard to the South-North talks, Minister Kang is making preparations internally, with the possibility in mind,” the official told reporters.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Noh Kyu-duk earlier said he has no information to share with reporters in connection with Kang’s possible meetings with Ri or U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York.

Ri, meanwhile, had separate meetings with Pompeo and Taro there. Pompeo plans to visit Pyongyang in October to discuss details of the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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