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(LEAD) Xi calls for no nukes, no war on Korean Peninsula

All Headlines 02:07 February 06, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with details, background in last 7 paras)

BEIJING, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday that there should be neither nuclear weapons nor war on the Korean Peninsula as he spoke by phone with President Park Geun-hye for the first time since the North's nuclear test last month.

Xi also said that all relevant parties should deal with the situation in a "cool-headed" manner from the perspective of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula while sticking to the principle of dialogue and negotiations, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

"Under any circumstances, China will consistently make efforts to realize Korean-Peninsula denuclearization, safeguard peace and stability on the peninsula and resolve problems through dialogue and negotiations," Xi was quoted as saying.

That would conform to the common interests of all countries in Northeast Asia, he said.

Xi also said that China wants to maintain communication and cooperation with South Korea with regard to Korean-Peninsula issues, according to the ministry.

South Korea, the United States and others have been looking to China to use more of its leverage with North Korea to hold the provocative regime accountable for its recent nuclear test and to discourage further provocations.

Chinese cooperation is key to putting together strong sanctions on Pyongyang as China is one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and the main provider of food and fuel for the North.

Beijing has condemned the North's nuclear test, but has been lukewarm about calls for stern responses. Analysts have long said Beijing fears that pushing Pyongyang too hard could lead to its collapse, instability on its border with China and the untimely emergence of a pro-U.S. nation.

On relations with South Korea, Xi said that the two countries have seen mutual political trust grow stronger and exchanges and cooperation in many areas increasing day by day. He also said that the two sides have been maintaining close cooperation in many regional and global issues, according to the ministry.

Xi said he hopes to work together with Park to elevate bilateral relations to new levels. Park said in response that Seoul considers relations with China very important and it is important for the leaders of the two countries to communicate over issues of common concern.

The Chinese ministry also noted in the statement that South Korea expressed grave concern about North Korea's fourth nuclear test and its plan to conduct a long-range rocket launch and that Seoul wants the U.N. Security Council to come up with a response to the situation.

Xi, however, did not include any direct mention of North Korea.

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