US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss how to handle North Korea, while on the sidelines of next week’s nuclear security summit in Washington, D.C., according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
It would be the first time both leaders get so speak face-to-face following North Korea’s recent nuclear test and missile launches, which violated United Nations sanctions. North Korea’s state media reported Thursday that the military had successfully tested a solid-fuel engine that boosts the power of its ballistic missiles, tests of which are also prohibited under existing UN sanctions.
China, North Korea’s main trading partner, recently has agreed to impose tougher sanctions on Pyongyang. However, Beijing insists the US and South Korea are “overreacting” to North Korean activity especially by proposing a missile-defense system on the Korean peninsula.
“On this issue, China’s position is consistent,” said Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong. “We are dedicated to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
He added, “We think the problems should be solved through dialogue and consultation, and we are also dedicated to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula.”
The two presidents also will discuss cyber security issues and growing tension in the South China Sea.
Before visiting the US, Xi will meet Czech President Milos Zeman in Prague.
China hopes to launch investment and infrastructure projects in the Czech Republic. Its location in the heart of Europe makes the Czech Republic an important hub in Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. In November, the Czech Republic became the first country in the region to sign a memorandum of understanding on the initiative.