China continues key role in Korean Peninsula denuclearization



North Korean leader Kim Jong-un paid an unofficial visit to China on March 25-28. Kim told President Xi Jinping his country was "committed to denuclearization," adding that North Korea would achieve peace by "taking progressive and synchronous measures."

The two Koreas agreed to hold the third inter-Korean summit on April 27 in the truce village of Panmunjom, Seoul's unification ministry said on March 29 after a high-level dialogue between the two sides. The summit talks will discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the easing of military tension, and the establishment of a permanent peace mechanism. A meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump is expected to be held in May.

The rising rapprochement on the peninsula comes as a result of joint efforts by relevant parties to promote peaceful development and China's constructive role in the issue. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and playing a leading role in resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation.

Kim's visit to China came at a special time. The two countries reached a consensus on denuclearization and confirmed China's decisive role in solving the peninsula issue. This has dealt a blow to allegations that China is being marginalized on the North Korea issue, and makes hardliners in the US view North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons in an objective way.

Kim told Xi that the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula could be resolved if South Korea and the US responded to goodwill efforts and created an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace. The Xi-Kim summit has made clear Pyongyang's basic requirements and bottom line in achieving denuclearization on the peninsula and wiped out some strategic concerns. In this regard, South Korea and the US can prepare to hold summits with the North in a well-ordered way.

The Xi-Kim meeting has shown that China remains key to directing the situation on the peninsula at a critical juncture. China's unique role in the Korean Peninsula issue is unshakable and can never be excluded. At a critical moment of change in China-US ties, it is necessary to stabilize China's relations with its neighbors. Hopefully China's proposal of a "dual suspension" and "dual track" approach can be carried out in North Korea's talks with the South and the US.

The denuclearization on the peninsula can be achieved if relevant parties ramp up efforts to ensure smooth strategic communication, enhance strategic mutual trust and balance their reasonable interest concerns. At the same time, all sides should demonstrate sincerity and patience in addressing the North Korea nuclear issue.