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(LEAD) Moon, Xi agree on need to maintain momentum of dialogue with N. Korea

Diplomacy 18:40 December 23, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with summit results; CHANGES headline, dateline)
By Lee Chi-dong

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed Monday to make a concerted efforts to maintain the momentum of dialogue with North Korea, as concerns are growing that Pyongyang may resume high-profile provocations like test-firing a long-range rocket, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

With regard to the recent stalemate in the Korea peace process, Xi was quoted as telling Moon in their Beijing summit, "There are many people worrying about the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula."

Xi stressed, "China and South Korea should join forces in making North Korea and the United States maintain the dialogue momentum," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung told reporters in an in-flight briefing as South Korea's Air Force One headed to Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

Xi added that Beijing and Seoul can achieve a lot of things if they join hands, Ko said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in their Beijing summit on Dec. 23, 2019. (Yonhap)

Moon agreed, "Maintaining North Korea-U.S. dialogue momentum is more important than any other thing."

They also talked about the issue of a draft of fresh U.N. Security Council resolution, proposed by China and Russia, calling for some of the sanctions in place against the North to be eased, Ko said.

Meeting for the first time in six months, Moon and Xi were scheduled to have half-hour talks but the summit, their sixth together, lasted 55 minutes. They also had a working lunch together until shortly before Moon's departure for Chengdu, where he plans to attend an annual group summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

On the trade war between Beijing and Washington, Xi said his government plans to handle it "with flexibility," Ko said.

"Cooperation would lead to interest for everybody, while a fight leaves scars on all of us," Xi was quoted as saying.

In response, Moon expressed hope that the two sides will resolve the problem through "constructive dialogue" and welcomed a recent related agreement.

Xi again called on Moon to "appropriately" resolve the issue of an advanced U.S. missile defense system named THAAD stationed in South Korea.

On the cross-border spread of fine dust, Moon and Xi agreed that this kind of environmental issue is directly associated with the health and quality of life of people in both nations.

Moon invited Xi to visit Seoul as early as possible, saying it would serve as another chance to deepen the Seoul-Beijing "strategic cooperative relationship," and Xi said he would "actively consider" it.

A Cheong Wa Dae official said the two leaders had "candid discussions" on wide-ranging issues.

lcd@yna.co.kr
(END)

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