• Chinese, Russian presidents discuss Korea events on phone

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held talks with his Chinese counterpart over the Korean Peninsula a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Chinese capital.

"The [two] sides discussed some vital issues of the international agenda, including the settlement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Russia’s official Tass news agency reported, quoting a Kremlin statement on a telephone conversation between the two leaders.

According to Chinese media reports, President Xi Jinping said China and Russia firmly supported each other in safeguarding sovereignty, security and development interests of both sides, adding that the two nations have been working hard to defend peace and stability of the region and the world.

China last week hosted the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Putin and Xi expressed satisfaction over the event’s outcome.

On Friday, the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement calling for a swift removal of all unilateral sanctions against North Korea in the wake of the summit between the US and North Korean leaders.

"We are certain that modification of the UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea can and must become one of the most important components of normalization in the region," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"As far as the unilateral sanctions against North Korea are concerned, those which were introduced by a number of countries in bypass of the UN Security Council and even in addition to its sanctions, our attitude is well-known. It is negative. We are for the fastest cancellation of all such unilateral restrictions, in particular, the so-called secondary, extraterritorial sanctions," she added.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Beijing on Thursday two days after the historic talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Pompeo stressed that tough sanctions will remain in place against North Korea until its complete denuclearization.

The US secretary of state said President Trump has been “incredibly clear” about the sequencing of denuclearization and relief from the sanctions.

Pompeo said step-by-step “sequencing” meant that “denuclearization” will take place first, and will then be followed by “sanctions relief."

The statement issued at the end of last week’s Kim-Trump summit provided no details as to when North Korea would renounce its nuclear weapons or how the dismantling might be verified.

Pompeo welcomed Beijing’s “important and positive role” in promoting denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula and the successful convening of the historic meeting.

China also called the summit important and great start.

“Of course, it takes a process to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. We hope the United States and the DPRK will implement the consensus reached at the summit, continue to make concert efforts, and have positive interactions,” said China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a joint press conference with Pompeo on Thursday.

Wang underlined that the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue cannot be resolved without the support and participation of the relevant parties.

"China is willing to maintain close communication with the relevant parties including the United States and the DPRK, and continue playing its due part in the denuclearization and establishment of a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula," he added.

North Korea has been under a raft of crippling UN sanctions since 2006 over its nuclear tests as well as multiple rocket and missile launches. Pyongyang has firmly defended its military program as a deterrent against the hostile policies of the US and its regional allies, including South Korea and Japan.

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Jun 16, 2018 13:47 UTC
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