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(LEAD) China 'can't make breakthrough' in curbing N. Korea's nuclear ambition

All News 15:21 June 02, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS North Korean delegation's arrival at Beijing airport in last 2 paras)
By Kim Deok-hyun

BEIJING, June 2 (Yonhap) -- China "cannot make a breakthrough" in reining in North Korea's nuclear weapons ambitions, a state-run newspaper published by China's ruling Communist Party said Thursday, a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with a visiting high-level North Korean delegation.

The Global Times newspaper said in an editorial that the Wednesday talks between Xi and the North Korean delegation showed the willingness by the two nations "to maintain their traditional friendship and ease the tense relationship."

Xi and the North Korean delegation, led by Ri Su-yong, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, made no mention of the North's nuclear weapons program, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.

Earlier on Thursday, North Korea's official media reported that Ri briefed Xi on the North's policy of simultaneously pursuing both economic development and nuclear advance.

"China cannot make a breakthrough in North Korea's nuclear issue, but it serves as a balancing actor in the game," the editorial said.

"China hopes the peninsula can reach long-term peace in a way accepted by all, and that is how all stakeholders can find the largest shared interests," it added.

The visit by Ri to Beijing came as chief nuclear envoys from South Korea, the U.S. and Japan met this week and urged China to do more in curbing North Korea's nuclear program.

"Under the circumstances that China also endorses heavy sanctions on North Korea, many international forces are inciting confrontation between the two and trying to make their divergences into the main source of conflict in Northeast Asia. Ri's visit shows that both China and North Korea are rationally keeping away from this trap," the editorial said.

China, North Korea's diplomatic and economic lifeline, voted in favor of tougher U.N. sanctions against the North's latest nuclear test, but protected the traditional ally from the harshest sanctions.

Many analysts believe that China is unlikely to put crippling sanctions on North Korea because a sudden collapse of the Pyongyang regime could spark a refugee crisis at its border and lead to a pro-U.S. and democratic Korea on its doorstep.

Wrapping up the three-day visit to Beijing, the North Korean delegation was seen arriving at the Beijing Capital International Airport's VIP gate in a motorcade of about 10 black sedans at around 1:40 p.m. (Beijing time).

The delegation was expected to return home via an Air Koryo flight later in the day.


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