China on Wednesday proposed a “double suspension” formula to defuse the crisis in the Korean Peninsula as part of its new assertive approach to shoulder greater global responsibilities within the framework of the United Nations.
“As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (South Korea) military exercises,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a media conference the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress.
This will help the parties to break out of the security dilemma and return to the negotiating table, he observed.
Mr. Wang added: “We may follow the dual-track approach of denuclearising the peninsula on the one hand and establishing a peace mechanism on the other.”
Mr. Wang compared the missile tests of the North and the joint drills across the border in the South to “accelerating trains coming toward each other.”
“Holding nuclear weapons won’t bring security, using military force won’t be a way out,” Mr. Wang said, in a message to Pyongyang and Seoul. “There remains a chance of resuming talks, there is still hope for peace.”
Mr. Wang stressed that the North Korea and the United States were the main parties to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, but as a next-door neighbour with a lips-and-teeth relationship with the Peninsula, China’s role in the resolution of the issue was indispensable.
In response to a question, Mr. Wang highlighted that the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) grouping was set for deepening its engagement with the Global South under a BRICS-plus approach.
He stressed that under the stewardship of China, which will host the BRICS summit this year, the emerging-country bloc will explore establishing a dialogue partnership with other major developing countries. “We will widen the circle of friends of the BRICS and turn it into the most influential platform for south-south cooperation in the world,” Mr. Wang observed.
At a time when the United States appeared to be looking inwards, the Chinese Foreign Minister affirmed that his country would champion inclusive globalisation, within the framework of the UN. He said that President President Xi Jinping’s January visit to international organisations had sent out a clear message that China strongly supported multilateralism, along with its abiding commitment to the UN-centered multilateral international system.
“In China’s view, the current international system was built by our forefathers from the ashes of the Second World War. It is a result of our common effort and wisdom. It is like a well-designed building with multilateralism as its cornerstone and the UN and other international organisations as important pillars.”
In his freewheeling annual press conference that lasted nearly two hours, Mr. Wang signaled Beijing’s support for a trilateral relationship among China, Russia and the United States. “We believe the three countries can develop healthy and positive relations so that jointly we can fulfill our responsibilities for world peace and development,” he said.
Contrary to the view that a US-Russian rapprochement under the Trump administration may impact negatively on Beijing, the Chinese foreign minister pointed out that the China-Russia relationship has peaked to a “historical high”. He added that Beijing and Moscow had established a “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination” as part of a “strategic decision,” based on the fundamental interests of the two countries.