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South Korea, China urge concessions on both sides to end U.S.-North Korea standoff

10 January 2019 - 44   - 0

SEOUL/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China and South Korea called for concessions from the United States as well as North Korea, ahead of a possible second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, suggesting a U.S. pressure campaign aimed at the North’s denuclearization may be slipping.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that he would cooperate with the international community to at least partially ease sanctions to allow for some inter-Korean business and tourism ventures, while later noting that Pyongyang needed to take “bold steps” towards denuclearization to win concessions from Washington.

“I think North Korea knows that they clearly have to denuclearize for the easing of international sanctions, and the U.S. also understands that there needs to be corresponding action to expedite the North’s denuclearization,” Moon told reporters at the presidential Blue House.

Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted Kim in Beijing this week and said he hoped the United States and North Korea would “meet each other halfway,” Chinese state media reported.

China, the North’s lone major ally, and U.S-backed South Korea have been key players in two years of “maximum pressure” led by the United States, but both countries are signaling an increased willingness to ease sanctions and improve ties with North Korea.

Pyongyang and Washington have been struggling to find a breakthrough despite a pledge by Kim at a landmark summit with Trump in Singapore in June to work towards denuclearization “of the Korean peninsula”.

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