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China calls on U.S., North Korea to end nuclear standoff

May 19 (UPI) — China urged the United States and North Korea to commit to a political decision to solve the “nuclear problem.”

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the remark on Friday in response to a statement from U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

Tillerson said Washington would guarantee Pyongyang regime security if certain conditions are met, according to South Korean special envoy Hong Seok-hyun.

“The secretary said [the Donald Trump administration’s] policy goal is not to pursue a regime change or aggression but to ensure regime security,” Hong said. “But he said Washington will only openly send messages, rather than hold closed-door talks, emphasizing the North should take action to cease nuclear and missile tests.”

Hua welcomed news of the conversation.

“Both sides, the United States and North Korea, are showing positive signs of willingness to solve the problem through dialogue,” Hua said. “As concerned parties to the North Korea nuclear issue, both sides must make political commitments as soon as possible, show sincerity and make constructive efforts to engage in dialogue through substantive action.”

The ministry spokeswoman also said China favors an end to the U.S.-South Korea joint exercises, and that the drills should be suspended if North Korea agrees to end nuclear and missile provocations.

China is wary of North Korea’s weapons tests but may also be concerned about the mixed messages from the Trump administration regarding North Korea, which have ranged from a more aggressive military posture to offers of peace and regime security for Kim Jong Un.

Beijing’s state tabloid Global Times also expressed concern on Friday the U.S. political model may be “crumbling” in the wake of investigations into Trump’s presidential campaign and the controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey.

“Every country has its own troubles. The U.S. model represents Western democracy, but it is crumbling, and the resulting social division has become more and more serious,” the newspaper stated in an unsigned editorial.

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