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S. Korea, China reaffirm shared stance to denuclearize N. Korea

All Headlines 16:39 August 24, 2016

By Park Boram

SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and China reaffirmed Wednesday they will work together to denuclearize North Korea despite frayed bilateral relations over Seoul's plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system on its soil.

The hastily-arranged meeting between Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi came on the sidelines of a trilateral foreign ministers' meeting in Tokyo also involving Japan.

Just before the annual three-way meeting started, North Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from the East Sea.

Yun expressed "serious concerns" over North Korea's SLBM launch and the reclusive country's explicit pursuit of sophisticated nuclear and missile capabilities during the meeting with Wang.

"It is important that the international community curb North Korea's nuclear and missile development with a sense of urgency and strong determination," Yun was quoted by the foreign ministry as saying.

"It is also important that South Korea and China issue stringent messages to North Korea on various bilateral and multilateral occasions under close collaboration," Yun also noted.

The Chinese minister reiterated his country's basic stance of opposing North Korea's nuclear and missile development, according to the South Korean foreign ministry's statement.

"China's position to seek denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is unwavering, and China will continue to implement a United Nations Security Council resolution (on North Korea)," the statement said.

Beijing hopes to "continue strategic communications" with South Korea on the North Korea nuclear issue, Wang was also quoted as saying.

It was the neighbors' latest affirmation, though there was a subtle difference in nuance, to maintain a unified front against North Korea's accelerating nuclear weapon and missile programs.

A growing diplomatic row over the Seoul plan to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery has been putting Seoul and Beijing's joint effort to penalize North Korea to the test.

A South Korea-led push to adopt a UNSC resolution critical of North Korea's defiant ballistic missile launch on Aug. 3 was thwarted by veto-wielding China's demand to include its opposition to the deployment of THAAD, which it said would seriously impair the country's strategic interests.

The statement said that on the THAAD issue, the ministers shared their basic stances and agreed to keep their communications open, but Japan's Kyodo News said Wang demanded withdrawal of the deployment plan during the bilateral talks.

Also during the meeting the two ministers shared their understanding of the need to develop South Korea-China relations further ahead of the 25th anniversary of the countries' diplomatic relations next year, the foreign ministry said.

They also agreed to expand trilateral cooperation with Japan in addressing regional and global issues, it also said.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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