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Xi vows close cooperation with N. Korea in resolving Korean Peninsula issues

All Headlines 08:43 June 19, 2019

SEOUL, June 19 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed close cooperation with North Korea on Wednesday to help make progress in negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington on the eve of his first visit to the North as leader.

Xi made the pledge in an op-ed piece to the Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's official newspaper, in a rare move seen as part of efforts to emphasize their friendly and close bilateral relations, a day before he pays a state visit to the communist neighbor.

"We will actively try to contribute to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity by strengthening communication and coordination with North Korea and other relevant parties to make progress in talks and negotiations on Korean Peninsula issues," Xi said.

"The Chinese side expresses its support for North Korea holding a right approach of politically resolving Korean Peninsula issues and trying to address matters of its reasonable concerns through dialogue," he added.

He noted that China will beef up its strategic communication and exchanges with North Korea going forward.

On Monday, Pyongyang and Beijing made a surprise announcement that Xi will make a two-day state visit to Pyongyang starting Thursday at the invitation of leader Kim Jong-un.

It will mark the first time in 14 years that a Chinese leader has visited the North, and it comes after Kim visited China four times since last year.

The upcoming visit is widely seen as a sign that China is trying to use its clout over North Korea as it is intensifying its rivalry with Washington ahead of a meeting between Xi and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Japan's Osaka next week.

It also comes amid renewed hopes that nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang could resume after the North's leader recently sent Trump a goodwill letter, which the U.S. president described as "beautiful" and "very warm," nearly four months after their second summit in Hanoi ended without a deal in February.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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