Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai believes the key to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is to address the legitimate security concerns of all sides.
“Cui made the remarks in Washington on Monday at the seventh US-China Civil Strategic Dialogue co-hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tsinghua University and Peking University.
China is committed to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and no one should deny China’s persistent efforts toward that goal,” Cui said.
He emphasized that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has consistently, fully and effectively implemented Security Council resolutions about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
He called the media report about the growth of trade between China and DPRK in the first quarter of this year “a distorted picture”.
Trade between China and the DPRK declined in 2015 and 2016. In February of this year, China suspended coal imports from the DPRK.
As a result, imports from the DPRK dropped 41 percent in April and 32 percent in May year-on-year, according to Cui.
The top Chinese diplomat in the US emphasized that Security Council sanctions against the DPRK do not constitute an embargo.
“Normal trade between China and the DPRK is not banned by these sanctions. But China is firmly opposed to DPRK actions that violate Security Council resolutions, such as nuclear tests and ICBM launching. We support the Security Council in taking further actions against such violations,” Cui said.
Cui called on people to have a clear understanding of the crux of the Korean nuclear issue. “It is in essence an issue of security, and the key to escape the ‘security dilemma’ is to start with addressing legitimate security concerns of all sides,” he said.
“Sanctions are necessary, but sanctions only cannot solve the problem. The impact of sanctions would be maximized only when it is combined with more robust efforts for the resumption of negotiations,” Cui said.
He believes diplomatic negotiation is the only way out for the Korean nuclear issue.
“The US side said its strategic patience has run out. We hope it will lead to proactive actions on the diplomatic front, not strategic impatience instead,” Cui said.
He warned against the calls by some in the US for military action. “China’s position on this is firm and clear. We would never allow war or chaos breaking out on the Korean peninsula,” he said.
“The cost would be too high for anyone, including the US.”
Cui believes China and the US share the overall goal on the Korean nuclear issue, which is to realize denuclearization of the peninsula and maintain peace and stability in the region.
“We are ready to develop even closer coordination with the US side and make it a high priority,” he said.
Cui pointed out that the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system poses a serious threat to China’s strategic security. “And attempts to create leverage against China on the Korean nuclear issue by challenging China on Taiwan and the South China Sea are equally destructive,” he said.
Cui also stressed that the so-called “secondary sanctions” imposed by the US on Chinese entities and individuals according to US domestic laws are also not acceptable.
“Such actions are obstructing cooperation between China and the US and lead to questions about the real intentions of the US side,” he said.
The Korean nuclear issue is a historic problem of complex origins. To break the current impasse, China has proposed the “dual-track” approach and “suspension-for-suspension” proposal. This idea has gained more and more understanding and support in the international community.
“We hope the US side can give it serious consideration,” he said.