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(LEAD) China's Xi calls for dialogue on Korean Peninsula 'predicament'

All Headlines 11:13 April 01, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with China's statement; ADDS photo)

BEIJING, April 1 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping called for dialogue to resolve the "predicament" on the Korean Peninsula during a bilateral summit with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Washington, China's foreign ministry said Friday.

Xi also urged "all parties" to avoid taking any actions that might undermine the security interests of other countries, in a veiled warning against the possible deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, following North Korea's recent nuclear and rocket tests.

Park and Xi held the summit on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit.

North Korea has ramped up its warlike rhetoric since it was slapped with tougher U.N. sanctions early last month for conducting its fourth nuclear test in January and launching a long-range rocket in February.

"Dialogue and consultation represent the only right way to settle the predicament on the Korean Peninsula," Xi was quoted as telling Park, according to the Chinese ministry's statement.

"China urges all parties concerned to refrain from any words and deeds that could exacerbate tensions and any moves that might harm the security interests of other countries and the strategic balance in the region," Xi was quoted as saying in the statement.

Although the statement did not mention the U.S. missile defense system, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Chinese officials have used the reference when they voiced opposition against the deployment of a THAAD battery in South Korea.

South Korea and the U.S. began formal talks last month to deploy a THAAD battery in South Korea.

China has argued that the powerful radar of a THAAD battery could target its own territory if it is deployed in South Korea. But both Seoul and Washington officials have dismissed such concerns, saying the U.S. missile shield is defensive in nature and focuses on North Korea's missile activities.

Meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the nuclear summit, Xi also said that China is "firmly opposed" to the deployment of a THAAD battery in South Korea, according to China's assistant foreign minister, Zheng Zeguang.

During a press briefing in Washington, Zheng said the deployment of a THAAD battery in South Korea would "undermine China's security interests."

kdh@yna.co.kr
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