SEOUL – China’s President Xi Jinping expressed on Thursday his support for dialogue and better ties between the two Koreas in a telephone conversation with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in.
The 30-minute chat between Xi and Moon came after representatives from the two Koreas held a historic meeting at the inter-Korean border on Tuesday with a focus on facilitating North Korean participation in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games and reactivating military talks.
“President Xi Jinping welcomed the improvement in the South-North Korea relationship as the result of high-level talks between the South and the North and said he actively supports President Moon Jae-in and the South Korean government to that end,” Seoul’s presidential office said after the telephone call.
In a statement to the media, the office added that Xi and Moon “agreed to strengthen strategic dialogue and cooperation between South Korea and China so that inter-Korean dialogue will go beyond North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games.”
Both said they hoped that this rapprochement would lead “to the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
In another conversation with Moon on Wednesday, United States President Donald Trump said he was willing to talk to North Korea “at the appropriate time and under the right circumstances.”
During the conversation, both emphasized the importance of keeping up “the campaign of maximum pressure” against North Korea.
After North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed a desire to improve ties with the South in his New Year message, the two Koreas held their first high-level meeting in over two years at the truce village of Panmunjom.
This gesture has contributed to defusing tensions in the peninsula following a year marked by continuous weapons tests by North Korea and a belligerent rhetoric by Trump in response.