China urges North Korea to prevent tensions from rising

China says it does not want to see any actions that could raise tensions, after North Korea announces intention to launch satellite

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

China's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei (L) arrives at Pyongyang's international airport, in North Korea, February 2, 2016.

China has told North Korea that it does not want to see anything happen that could further raise tensions, China's foreign minister said on Friday, after North Korea announced plans to launch a satellite on Tuesday.

North Korea said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space programme and told UN agencies it planned to launch a satellite between Feb. 8 and 25. US and several other countries are alleging that the satellite launch might be cover for a long range missile test.

Tensions started to rise in the region last month, after North Korea undertook its fourth nuclear test, claiming that it tested a hydrogen bomb.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described the issue as "a serious situation." He said it was natural that Beijing had sent its special envoy for the nuclear issue, Wu Dawei, to North Korea for talks on the matter.

He said that China needed contacts "with all parties," mentioning the United States, South Korea and Russia.

"At the same time, we also need to have necessary contacts with the North Korea side, to listen to their opinions," Wang told Hong Kong's Phoenix Television.

China is the most important diplomatic and economic supporter of North Korea, which is highly isolated. However, China opposes North Korea's nuclear programme and supports many UN Security Council resolutions against it.

"Of course, an important point is to express China's clear position to North Korea. We don't want to see anything happen that could cause further tensions," Wang said.

"We hope all sides, including North Korea, can meet each other halfway, and should work hard together to push the North Korean nuclear issue onto the track of a negotiated resolution." 

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi agreed on the need for a significant new UN Security Council resolution against North Korea.

TRTWorld, Reuters