China’s UN ambassador expressed hope on Monday that US President Joe Biden’s policy toward North Korea will give more importance to diplomacy and dialogue instead of “extreme pressure” to try to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear programme and denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.
Zhang Jun said China also hopes the review of US policy will give equal emphasis to both the nuclear issue and the peace and security issue, the Associated Press reports.
“Without tackling the security and the peace issues properly, definitely we do not have the right environment for our efforts for the denuclearisation,” he said.
The White House said last Friday that Biden plans to change from the approaches of his two most recent predecessors as he tries to stop North Korea’s nuclear programme.
He is rejecting both Donald Trump’s personal efforts to win over leader Kim Jong Un and Barack Obama’s more hands-off approach.
The Biden administration is appearing to signal that it wants to set the stage for incremental progress, in which denuclearisation steps by the North would be met with corresponding actions, including sanctions relief, from the US.
There was no mention of US security guarantees for North Korea or a formal end to the Korean War, both of which have been demanded by Pyongyang and were considered by the Trump team as part of a larger package.
China assumed the presidency of the UN Security Council this month and Zhang told a news conference that Beijing will look “very carefully” at the US policy review in hopes it will give more emphasis to dialogue.
China and Russia circulated a draft resolution a year ago on lifting some sanctions against North Korea, and Zhang said it’s still on the table.
He stressed that while China is implementing sanctions against the North, it also believes the Security Council should consider adjusting and lifting sanctions “which are really hindering humanitarian access and making people suffer”.
North Korea said on Sunday that Biden was mistaken in calling the country a security threat and warned of an unspecified response.