China does not rule out softening North Korea sanctions

China does not rule out softening North Korea sanctions
UPI

April 23 (UPI) — China may not be ruling out the lifting of some North Korea sanctions as Beijing closely cooperates with Moscow on the rapidly changing situation on the Korean Peninsula.

China’s foreign ministry said Monday that policy should work to help dialogue, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.

“The international community must actively consider every effort to help the situation on the Korean Peninsula, so tensions are eased and a path to return to a peaceful resolution through dialogue is recovered,” said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.

While Lu did not mention sanctions in the statement, he also did not rule out lifting the embargoes that may have played a key role in pushing North Korea to return to negotiations and diplomacy.

“The [United Nations Security Council’s] North Korea sanctions resolution not only has sanctions, but also resolutions on encouraging denuclearization, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” Lu said. “We must work toward a peaceful solution.”

Past efforts at diplomacy have involved extending economic aid to North Korea and the progressive administration of former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun had planned to offer $1 billion in economic aid to North Korea in 2007, South Korean newspaper Maeil Business reported Monday.

But even if economic cooperation is on the agenda for the inter-Korea summit this Friday, the kind of investment North Korea needs will involve a multilateral effort, a South Korean analyst said.

Lim Eul-chul, a professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University, said North Korea is likely to seek aid from China and the United States and not solely depend on the South.

The South Korean offer of aid was scuttled following the election of conservative hardliner Lee Myung-bak in 2008.

China and Russia may be interested in cooperation that could ease tensions.

Tass news agency reported Monday that Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi agreed to “make progress” on easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

While meeting in Beijing the two sides agreed to a “roadmap” that could see the suspension of North Korea tests followed by an agreement to end joint U.S.-South Korea exercises on the peninsula.

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