Chinese President Hu Jintao has said that "independent and peaceful reunification" of the two Koreas is "in the fundamental interest" of both sides.
Hu's remarks came in a written Q&A with the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post just before he embarked on a state visit to the U.S. on Tuesday.
Asked whether China believes "that reunification of the Korean peninsula will bring more stability than maintaining the status quo?" Hu said, "As a close neighbor and friend of [both Koreas], China hopes that the North and the South will improve relations and achieve reconciliation and cooperation through dialogue and consultation and eventually realize independent and peaceful reunification, and we support their efforts in this regard. This is in the fundamental interests of both the North and the South and conducive to peace and stability on the peninsula."
The Chinese leadership has expressed support for reunification independent of the military and political influence of the U.S. and led by the two Koreas themselves several times. But it has been widely believed to prefer the status quo for strategic reasons.
"We stand for achieving denuclearization of the peninsula in a peaceful way through dialogue and consultation to maintain peace and stability of the peninsula and Northeast Asia," Hu told the two papers. "For this purpose, China actively advocates and promotes the six-party talks process."
He expressed hope "that proceeding from the overall interests of the denuclearization of the peninsula and regional peace and stability, the parties concerned will take active measures and create conditions for the resumption" of the talks.
Hu claimed the talks stand a good chance of success. "I am convinced that as long as the parties respect each other, engage in consultation on an equal footing, and implement the September 19 Joint Statement in a comprehensive and balanced way through the six-party talks, they will arrive at an appropriate solution to the Korean nuclear issue and contribute to lasting peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia."