China urges talks after US President Donald Trump blacklists North Korea

November 21, 2017 5:30 pm
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang
has reiterated the importance of dialog to resolve the tensions over North ’s weapons program following the re-labeling of Pyongyang as a “state sponsor of terrorism” by US President Donald Trump.
“We still hope all relevant parties can contribute to easing tensions, that the relevant parties can resume talks and (adopt) the correct track to resolving the Korean Peninsula issue through dialog and consultation,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Tuesday. “More should be done in that regard.”
Beijing has put forth a “double freeze” approach to resolving the crisis, calling for the US to freeze its annual war games with South Korea in exchange for halting its weapons programs.
Trump on Monday vowed a swift escalation of US Treasury sanctions against Pyongyang after adding its name to Washington’s terror blacklist.
Seemingly contradicting Trump, however, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also stressed diplomacy.
“We still hope for diplomacy,” Tillerson said after Trump’s designation, adding that punitive measures would pressure North Korea into talks.
Although there was no immediate reaction to the latest US move from Pyongyang, an editorial in the ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun prior to the terror designation described Trump as a “mentally deranged money-grabber” who was leading his country down an “irretrievable road to hell.”
Backing Trump’s latest move against Pyongyang were US regional allies Japan, South Korea, and Australia.
“I welcome and support (the designation) as it raises the pressure on North Korea,” Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday.
Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, too, said the US measure was “part of the international community’s common efforts to bring North Korea to the path of denuclearization through strong sanctions and pressure.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, meanwhile, used harsher rhetoric to express support for Trump’s decision, saying the move was in line with international efforts to bring Pyongyang to its senses.
“[North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un runs a global criminal operation from North Korea pedaling arms, pedaling drugs, engaged in cyber-crime and of course threatening the stability of region with his nuclear weapons,” Turnbull said in a press briefing in Sydney on Tuesday.
The designation of North Korea as a “state sponsor of terror” had been removed by former US president George W. Bush in 2008.
South Korea’s spy agency announced on Monday that Pyongyang might conduct additional missile tests this year to improve its long-range missile technology and ramp up the threat against the US.
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