President Park Geun-hye in a phone conversation Wednesday thanked Chinese leader Xi Jinping for his words of comfort for the victims of the ill-fated ferry Sewol, and expressed sadness that some Chinese passengers are among the missing.
Xi said he was deeply saddened by the fact that the majority of the missing and deceased were young students. The Chinese president pledged to provide search-and-rescue assistance to Seoul.
The two leaders also talked about North Korea. Park urged her Chinese counterpart to dissuade Pyongyang from carrying out a fourth nuclear test, saying it would change the security paradigm in Northeast Asia.
North Korea carried out nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
Park added that a fourth test could also hamper efforts to resume the stalled six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea.
Xi reassured Park that both countries share the same interest in a denuclearized North Korea, adding Beijing will do its best to help maintain peace and stability on the peninsula.