China has again warned against moves that could trigger a military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, saying a current dispute over North Korea’s intensified weapons program should only be settled through dialogue.
“The peninsula issue must in the end be resolved via dialogue and consultation,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday while meeting his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in Beijing.
Xi said all parties to the conflict on the Korean Peninsula should stick to the goal of denuclearization and that no one should allow war and chaos to happen in the region.
Tensions over North Korea’s missile program escalated in July when Pyongyang tested two of its advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles. The North carried out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in August, prompting the US and its allies to lead efforts to pile up international economic pressure on the country while intensifying joint military drills in the region.
The Chinese president said Beijing would support efforts that could improve relations between North and South Korea as a major tactic to ease tensions in the region. He also said China was willing to coordinate measures with South Korea that could prevent war and promote talks.
China and South Korea have been at odds over the deployment in South Korea of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a US-made anti-missile system which Seoul and Washington have promoted as a major tool to intercept alleged missile threats emanating from North Korea. China has rejected that THAAD’s deployment could reduce tensions in the region while maintaining that the powerful radar system can see far into China.
During his meeting with the South Korean leader, Xi reiterated China’s position on THAAD and expressed hope that Seoul would continue to “appropriately handle” the case.