January 24, 2013 12:47
Chinese president-in waiting Xi Jinping's support on Wednesday for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will put "considerable pressure" on North Korea, according to a diplomatic source in Beijing.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen frequently call for denuclearization and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on the Korean Peninsula, but the pressure will be much greater now that China's leader has directly expressed his commitment.
North Korea reacted with predictable fury to a UN Security Council resolution the same day condemning its recent rocket launch and expanding sanctions.
"For North Korea China's consent to additional sanctions will be very disappointing," the source added. "But given its dependency on Beijing, Pyongyang will not be able to ignore Xi's remark completely and go ahead with another nuclear test."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Wednesday called for a resumption of the six-party denuclearization talks, even though North Korea thundered there would be no more talks about abandoning its nuclear program.
Hong said achieving peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula through denuclearization is in the "common interest" of countries in Northeast Asia.
But China is unlikely to seek another channel to put pressure on North Korea. The Chinese Foreign Ministry described the UNSC resolution as "balanced" but also in a familiar phrase called for "calm and restraint" from neighboring countries.
Xi made his remarks in a meeting with envoys for South Korean president-elect Park Geun-hye, who also met other officials in Beijing. They included senior apparatchik Wang Jiarui, a key person in dealing with North Korea.
On Tuesday, they had dinner with state councilor Dai Bingguo, a senior member of the Politburo, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and Wu Dawei, the special representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs.
Meanwhile, Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of the New Komeito Party in Japan, went to China on Tuesday to deliver a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but was unable to meet with Xi.
A Korean diplomatic source said, the South Korean delegation "went to China on Monday and met with Xi on Wednesday, so Yamaguchi will probably get his turn on Thursday."
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