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Meeting between top Chinese, U.S. diplomats highlights DPRK, South China Sea issues

Xinhua 2016-02-24 16:15

  WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday held a meeting with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in Washington on a wide range of topics, including tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea issue.

  It was the third meeting in a month between the top diplomats, Wang told a press conference at the State Department, adding that it shows that both China and the United States attach great importance to the bilateral relationship.

  "As foreign ministers, it is our task to clear the way ahead and to remove obstacles to the smooth development of our bilateral relations," Wang said, emphasizing that Beijing and Washington have "far more common interests than areas of disagreement."

  LIMITING DPRK NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

  Important progress has been made on a UN resolution on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is expected to be adopted in the coming days, Wang told reporters.

  Once the resolution is implemented, it will effectively limit further progress of the DPRK's nuclear missile program, Wang said.

  Kerry also hailed the "significant progress" made on the resolution, adding that "it will go beyond anything that we have previously passed."

  Members of the UN Security Council are in the final stage of drafting the resolution, a response to DPRK's nuclear test last month and satellite launch earlier this month.

  "We do not accept the DPRK's nuclear missile program and we do not recognize the DPRK as a nuclear weapon state," Wang said.

  The top Chinese diplomat also said the resolution itself cannot fundamentally solve the Korean nuclear issue. "To really do that, we need to return to the track of dialogue and negotiation," Wang said.

  Wang's viewpoint was echoed by Kerry, who said that the goal of the resolution is not to be "in a series of cycling, repetitive punishments."

  Wang also put forward the proposal of pursuing a parallel track: the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the replacement of the Korean armistice with a peace agreement.

  "China sees the parallel track approach as a reasonable one," Wang said, adding that it highlights the overriding goal of denuclearizing the peninsula while seeking to address the major concerns of the various parties.

  China would like to have further discussions about the parallel track with the interested parties, including the specific steps that may lead to a resumption of dialogue, he said.

  NON-MILITARIZATION OF SOUTH CHINA SEA 

  On the South China Sea issue, Wang reiterated the stance that islands in the region have historically been China's territory. He added that China is committed to resolving the disputes through peaceful dialogue and negotiation.

  The South China Sea issue is not and should not become an issue between China and United States, Wang said, stressing that it is important to prevent any miscalculation between Washington and Beijing.

  The Chinese foreign minister noted that both China and the United States share common interests regarding the South China Sea, including maintaining peace and stability.

  "China, United States, and ASEAN countries have all committed to non-militarization," Wang said. "Non-militarization is not the responsibility of one party alone; it's something that we share."

  Asked about the reported building of radar facilities, Wang called on media to pay more attention to the advanced armaments that have appeared in the South China Sea, including strategic bombers and missile destroyers.

  "It's important to notice that in recent decades some countries have illegally occupied China's reefs and atolls and have engaged in large-scale military constructions not only of radars, but also of missiles and all kinds of cannons and artilleries," Wang said.

  Wang also dismissed the notion that there are problems with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

  "No commercial vessel has encountered any problem in the area of freedom of navigation," Wang said. "The general situation in the South China Sea is stable compared with other parts of the world."

[Editor:zhengxiao]