China has called for talks between US and North Korea after Trump administration designated Pyongyang as a state sponsor of terrorism.
“We still hope all relevant parties can contribute to easing tensions, that the relevant parties can resume talks and (adopt) the correct track to resolving the Korean peninsula issue through dialogue and consultation…More should be done in that regard,”said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.
China’s reaction came after Trump promised a rapid escalation of US Treasury sanctions against the North after adding its name to a terror blacklist previously led by Iran and Syria.
“Should have happened a long time ago. Should have happened years ago,” Trump said.
But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hoped that sanctions and diplomacy could still pressure North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un into talks on nuclear disarmament.
“We still hope for diplomacy,” he said, adding that punitive measures were already having a significant impact on Pyongyang’s economy.
The White House has said it will not tolerate the North’s testing or deployment of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to US cities. Experts believe Pyongyang is within months of such a threshold, having carried out six nuclear tests since 2006 and test-fired several types of missiles, including multi-stage rockets.
Beijing has repeatedly pushed for negotiations to end the standoff in the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang defied all nuclear sanctions and went ahead missile tests.
China has pushed for a “dual track approach” which would require the United States to freeze its military drills in South Korea while North Korea would halt its weapons programmes, but the proposal has not gained traction.
(With inputs from agencies)