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Moon, Xi agree to seek tougher sanctions on N. Korea toward peaceful denuclearization

All Headlines 21:01 July 06, 2017

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) -- The leaders of South Korea and China agreed Thursday to seek tougher sanctions on North Korea to pressure it to stop provocations and return to dialogue for a peaceful resolution of its nuclear issue, Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The agreement came at a bilateral summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Berlin.

"The international community needs to induce North Korea to change its attitude through sanctions and pressure while at the same time continuing its efforts to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue," Moon told the Chinese leader, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun.

Xi said his country was doing its utmost to prevent North Korea from further developing its nuclear and missile technologies, Park said in a press release.

He also promised his country's leadership and support for efforts at the U.N. Security Council to rein in North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile capabilities.

The Moon-Xi meeting came two days after Pyongyang test-launched what it claimed to be its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). China currently serves as the chair of the U.N. Security Council.

"Regarding North Korea's ballistic missile that is considered to be the North's most advanced missile so far with an ICBM-level range, the two leaders reaffirmed that they will not tolerate this and agreed they will closely work together for a fundamental resolution of the North Korean nuclear and missile issues," the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.

Noting the two leaders held "candid" discussions by extending their 40-minute talks by 35 minutes, the spokesman said they also agreed to further develop their countries' bilateral ties.

"Noting the Korea-China relations are very important to both countries, the two leaders agreed to further develop the countries' strategic partnership based on mutual trust and respect in the year that marks the 25th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic ties," Park said.

The latest South Korea-China summit, however, came amid a continued dispute over Seoul's decision to host a U.S. missile shield.

Beijing has strongly and repeatedly protested the ongoing deployment of the THAAD U.S. missile shield to South Korea, claiming its wide-range radar may expose its military assets to Seoul and its allies, especially the United States.

Moon, shortly after taking office on May 10, asked his Chinese counterpart to help end China's de facto economic retaliation against South Korean businesses and people in China.

He again urged Xi's personal interest and support in ending what he called "various constraints" that currently prevent an expansion in the countries' economic and personnel exchanges, according to his spokesman.

President Xi said he too had to address issues that interest and concern his own people, but expressed hope the countries' bilateral ties and exchanges will soon be normalized and expanded, Park said.

Moon and Xi also agreed to continue their bilateral discussions as Moon accepted the Chinese leader's invitation to visit Beijing in the near future.

Moon asked Xi to visit South Korea during the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games to be held here early next year.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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