China and Russia have shown their full support for a peace drive launched by South Korea to resolve the persisting Korean crisis, a top South Korean official says.
China’s President “Xi Jinping offered a Chinese phrase that says ‘once hard ice melts, spring comes and flowers bloom’ to describe the situation on the Korean Peninsula and expressed his willingness to support the current situation,” South Korea’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong said on Thursday on his return from China and Russia.
Earlier this month, Chung paid a landmark visit to North Korea and met with its leader, Kim Jong-un, in an attempt to pave the way for the completely resolution of the dispute over Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs, which are perceived by the US and allies, including South Korea and Japan, as a dire threat.
Chung and his official delegation’s visit to the North was regarded successful by Seoul. The South Korean official said Kim had been “committed to demilitarization” and had “pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests” if its security is guaranteed.
On Monday and Tuesday, Chung visited China and Russia respectively to brief Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the outcome of his March 5-6 visit to Pyongyang. He talked to the Chinese president but failed to meet the Russian leader due to Putin’s busy schedule. Instead, he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“Russia has played a constructive role in inviting North Korea to dialog, and we hope that Russia will play such a role in the future. We will undoubtedly cooperate in this area with Russia,” Chung said regarding the result of the meeting with the Russian top diplomat.
Chung had formerly traveled to the US to brief American officials.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is set to hold a summit with the North’s Kim by the end of April. As for a meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump, no venue or exact date has yet been announced, but Trump has said a meeting may be held in May. Switzerland has expressed preparedness to facilitate the meeting.
The Korean dispute intensified when North Korea decided last summer to begin a series of tests for its long-range missiles and a powerful nuclear test, which prompted increased international pressure on Pyongyang to give up its weapons program.
North Korea says it will not abandon its weapons program, which Pyongyang says acts as a deterrent against any possible aggression by the US or its allies.
The US has substantial military presence near North Korea and had repeatedly threatened it with military invasion.