Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the fifth regular foreign ministers’ meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Beijing, April 28, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
says it will not allow the Korean Peninsula to be plagued by war and chaos, amid continuing tensions between the two Koreas.
“As a close neighbor of the peninsula, we will absolutely not permit war or chaos on the peninsula. This situation would not benefit anyone,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said during an international security conference in Beijing on Thursday.
Relations between North and South Korea
have been turbulent for years. Seoul and Pyongyang fought a war in the early 1950s, and have been at odds ever since.
Tensions have escalated further recently following the start of joint military exercises by Washington and Seoul.
North Korean nuclear weapons tests
Xi, who was addressing the fifth Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) hosted by his country, also said that China has “fully and completely” implemented UN sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapon and rocket tests.
He added that China would continue to seek North Korean denuclearization through dialog.
Speculations are that Pyongyang is to conduct another nuclear test in May.
North Korea declared itself a nuclear power in 2005 and carried out four nuclear weapons tests — in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016. It also launched a long-range rocket February this year, which Pyongyang said was aimed at placing an earth observation satellite into orbit. However, the US and South Korea denounced the move as a cover for an intercontinental ballistic missile test.
North Korea says it is strengthening its defense capabilities to protect itself against hostile countries, including the US.
South China Sea dispute
President Xi also said China would safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, while at the same time maintaining its sovereignty and safeguarding its rights there.
“We insist we should peacefully resolve the disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations with other parties directly involved,” he added.
China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The contested waters are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves.
In his speech, the Chinese president urged all sides to exercise restraint and return to the negotiating table.
The South China Sea dispute has at times drawn in extra-territorial countries — particularly the United States — which have more often than not sided with China’s rivals.
Recently, the US has increased its presence in the Asia-Pacific region
through its so-called pivot strategy, which critics denounce as a provocative policy.
Beijing accuses Washington of meddling in regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea.
The US, in turn, accuses Beijing of carrying out what it calls a land reclamation program in the South China Sea by building artificial islands in the disputed areas.