China is calling on the United States to take concrete steps to implement the agreement reached at the June 2018 Singapore summit between Presidents Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has announced.
“Two years ago, the leaders of the United States and North Korea held a summit in Singapore and reached a consensus on a new format for their relations, the creation of a peace settlement mechanism and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Unfortunately, it has not been possible to effectively implement this consensus,” the diplomat said.
According to Hua, the dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington has become deadlocked, with the main reason being that “the legitimate concerns of the North Korean side were not given due attention and were not resolved, while the measures that Pyongyang took in denuclearization did not receive a proper response” from the US side.
“Maintaining the dialogue and interaction between the US and North Korea is an important prerequisite for resolving contradictions and advancing the settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue, Hua said. Beijing, for its part, will “continue to play its constructive role” toward reaching “the political settlement on the Korean Peninsula,” she added.
Hua’s comments on the second anniversary of the historic June 12, 2018 Singapore summit between Presidents Kim and Trump came a day after North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon accused the US of failing to live up to its commitments to reduce tensions and improve relations.
“Even a slim ray of optimism for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula has faded away into a dark nightmare,” Ri said, speaking to North Korean media. The question is whether there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore,” he added, suggesting that there was “nothing of factual improvement to be made” in preserving the personal rapport achieved between Presidents Kim and Trump.
At the Singapore summit, Kim and Trump agreed to move toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula via the dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear shield in exchange for a reduction of the US military presence in the region and the possible removal of sanctions against Pyongyang. Kim and Trump met several times since then, but talks have not progressed beyond a photo opportunity, with both sides accusing the other of dragging its feet on implementing the agreement.
North Korean distrust of US intentions was heightened in May 2018, when then-Trump national security advisor John Bolton famously suggested that Pyongyang should be disarmed via the ‘Libya model’. This was a reference to the Gaddafi government’s decision to abandon its stocks of chemical weapons starting in 2003, only to be bombed into submission by NATO air power in 2011.
Earlier this week, Pyongyang announced the severing of all communication lines, including military hotlines, with South Korea amid an escalation of tensions over Seoul’s ongoing propaganda leafleting campaign. On Thursday, after the US expressed its “disappointment” with the move, the North Korean foreign ministry said the US had “no standing” to comment on the issue. China, for its part, called North and South Korea “one nation,” and urged negotiation and dialogue between the two sides.