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(LEAD) Moon urges China to do more to rid N. Korea of nuclear weapons: Reuters

All News 18:32 June 22, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional details)

SEOUL, June 22 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in on Thursday urged China to do more to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons, noting the communist state may acquire nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in "the not too distant future."

"I believe China is making efforts to stop North Korea from making additional provocations, yet there are no tangible results as of yet," the new South Korean president was quoted as saying in an interview with Reuters.

"China is North Korea's only ally and China is the country that provides the most economic assistance to North Korea. Without the assistance of China, sanctions won't be effective at all," he added, according to the report.

The South Korean leader earlier stressed a need to add dialogue to options for dealing with the provocative North, noting currently only sanctions and pressure are available.

Speaking to the British news service, Moon said additional and strong sanctions should be imposed on the North if the country conducts a sixth nuclear test or tests an ICBM.

He also noted there was "more room" for China to play a bigger role in resolving the North Korea crisis, the report said.

Moon expressed hope to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8-9.

In addition to asking China to do more to rein in North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile technology, the South Korean president said he also planned to ask Xi to remove China's apparent economic sanctions against South Korean firms and products that are in place as retaliation against the deployment of the THAAD U.S. missile defense system here.


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