China urged the United States on Thursday to adopt a more conducive approach towards North Korea, in order to restart stalled nuclear talks after Pyongyang indicated it wanted to resume negotiations.
North Korea said on Monday it was willing to restart nuclear talks with the US in late September but warned that dealings between the sides could end unless Washington takes a different approach.
A few hours later, it fired a new round of short-range projectiles.
Speaking in Beijing, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said China welcomed North Korea’s recent “positive signals” on restarting stalled talks.
“We would be glad to see North Korea and the United States resuming talks on schedule at the end of the month,” Wang told a joint news conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
Arguing that both sides’ core concerns must be addressed in order for talks to achieve real progress, Wang added: “If there are only preconditions made for the other side … or even trying to use extreme pressure to get the other side to make unilateral concessions, then this didn’t work in the past and it won’t work now or in the future.”
North Korea has so far this year taken a series of positive steps, and has asked the US to meet them halfway, he said.
“We hope that the US side can also take practical measures in this regard and make due efforts to ease the situation and promote dialogue.”
Wang did not mention North Korea’s recent weapons tests.
However, he reiterated China’s previous suggestions of sanctions relief for North Korea, even though China had agreed to the onerous sanctions imposed as a result of North’s nuclear and missile tests.
“We believe that the United Nations Security Council should, in due course, consider opening a discussion on the North Korea sanctions resolutions reversal clauses, to help North Korea alleviate the difficulties brought to the economy and people’s livelihoods by the sanctions.”
China is North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic ally, and Wang visited Pyongyang last week.
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas in June and agreed to restart working-level negotiations that had been stalled since an unsuccessful second summit between the two leaders in Vietnam in February.
Since the DMZ meeting, however, American officials have said their attempts to resume talks have gone unanswered. North Korea has also conducted at least eight test launches since then.