China has welcomed the progress made by the US and North Korea in setting up next month’s summit between their leaders.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China believes the June 12 meeting in Singapore between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump will “mark an important step” in bringing about denuclearisation, achieving a political settlement to issues on the Korean Peninsula and ensuring regional peace and stability.
“China welcomes the positive progress made by North Korea and the United States in preparing the leaders’ meeting,” Mr Geng told reporters at a regularly scheduled briefing.
“We look forward to positive outcomes of the meeting.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping has met twice with Mr Kim in China over the past two months, including a two-day meeting this week, in what is seen as a push to ensure Beijing’s interests are upheld in any settlement between North Korea and the US.
The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018
China backed North Korea in the 1950-53 Korean War and signed the armistice that stopped the fighting. It has long been the North’s economic lifeline, but trade between the two has plummeted following its implementation of United Nations economic sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
Despite that, China has long opposed any measures that could topple Mr Kim’s regime, possibly sending a wave of refugees into its north-east and bringing the prospect of US and South Korean troops on its border.