World / Asia-Pacific

China calls for restraint over satellite plans

By LI XIAOKUN (China Daily) Updated: 2016-02-06 04:07

Foreign Minister says Beijing does not want to see actions that raise tensions

Beijing has told Pyongyang it does not want to see any moves to further raise tensions, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said.

Wang's remarks, made on Thursday in London, were released on Friday. They came after Pyongyang told UN agencies on Tuesday that it planned to launch a satellite between Feb 8 and 25.

Pyongyang has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space program, although some countries believe such launches are missile tests and have called for Pyongyang to scrap the plans.

Wang said it was natural that Beijing had sent its special envoy for Korean Peninsula affairs, Wu Dawei, to Pyongyang as China is the host country of the Six-Party Talks.

Wu began his trip on Feb 2, amid a flurry of diplomatic moves after the Democratic People's Republic of Korea claimed it had successfully tested its first H-bomb on Jan 6. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wu had returned to Beijing on Feb 4.

He said Wu met DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong and First Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, and held talks with Vice-Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

Wang told Hong Kong's Phoenix Television that China needed "contacts with the DPRK to listen to their opinion" in such a serious situation.

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

"We hope all sides, including the DPRK, can meet each other half way, and work hard together to push the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue onto the track of a negotiated resolution."

Shi Yongming, an Asia-Pacific studies research fellow at the China Institute of International Relations, said the key to tackling the Korean Peninsula issue is "whether Pyongyang and Washington can resolve their problems in a peaceful way".

"China has not only sent the message to the DPRK, but also to the United States. The impasse on the Korean Peninsula at present is no good for either side."

He said that by sending Wu Dawei, China had fulfilled its obligation as a communication channel between Pyongyang and the world.

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