China, Russia supportive of Trump’s North Korea meeting
Head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov called a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-un, as a ‘’step in the right direction’’. "Only today we heard about this agreement, I hope that it will be realized, of course, it is necessary to stabilize the situation around the Korean peninsula. We also welcome an agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang about the inter-Korean summit to be held April, as I understand. The Russian Federation, the PRC and many other countries called for this in order to defuse tension, the atmosphere around the nuclear problem of the Korean peninsula. We should act not using threats, ultimatums, unilateral sanctions, but the dialogue on a mutually respectful basis, through the search for agreements that would satisfy all parties, " Sergey Lavrov said.
At the same time, he refused to comment on whether an agreement was reached to hold high-level contacts between Pyongyang and Washington at the expense of the pressure of sanctions: "Each side wants to prove its opinion is right. Let's not talk now about what caused this arrangement. It is even more important that this agreement will be realized and won’t end with a talk, but will lead the way to the resumption of a full-fledged political negotiation process with a view to a settlement of the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula on the basis of the existing principles, which were approved at the six-party talks and in the UN Security Council. "
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday that his nation is hopeful that all parties to the talks will “show their political courage,” according to an Associated Press report, and that China supports “positive inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea interactions.” As Politico writes in the article China, Russia supportive of Trump’s North Korea meeting, China has long served as North Korea chief trade partner and benefactor on the world stage, until recently shielding it from the most aggressive actions sought by the U.S. and others at the United Nations.
As North Korea ramped up its campaign of missile tests and nuclear saber-rattling, Trump has sought to ramp up pressure on the Kim regime with the help of China, which wields a disproportionate amount of influence with North Korea as its principle trading partner. China has agreed to tougher sanctions on North Korea in recent months, and Geng said Friday that the Chinese government “will continue to strive for the political resolution and lasting peace and stability on the peninsula.”
The White House’s Thursday confirmation that Trump would meet with Kim in the coming months came as somewhat of a surprise, breaking with past precedent that kept U.S. presidents from meeting leaders of the repressive nation. Trump himself has at times ratcheted up tensions with North Korea, pledging last summer to attack it with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued its nuclear provocations, but also expressing a willingness last May to meet with Kim.
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, told the AP that he and Trump spoke on the phone and agreed to continue the U.S.-led campaign of international sanctions intended to pressure North Korea into abandoning its nuclear arsenal. Abe said he will visit the U.S. in April to hold talks with Trump.
And Sweden, which is one of a handful of nations to maintain diplomatic relations with North Korea and has represented U.S. interests in Pyongyang, offered to help facilitate the meeting between Trump and Kim. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the AP Friday that he hopes the dialogue between the two is “smooth.”