China says its joint proposal with Russia to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) aimed at diffusing tensions between North Korea and the United States is “the best plan,” repeating its call on the world body to remove some sanctions on the North in order to break the deadlock between Pyongyang and Washington.
China, along with Russia, proposed a joint draft resolution at the UNSC on Monday that would lift sanctions on North Korean exports of statues, seafood, and textiles, and would ease restrictions on infrastructure projects and North Koreans working overseas.
“This is the best plan in the current situation to resolve the stalemate in the denuclearization of North Korea and for its peace and stability,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui said in a press conference on Thursday, adding that a political solution was still achievable despite a recent rise in tensions.
Washington has already rejected that plan.
The US, which leads the UNSC for the month of December, holds veto power in the 15-member Council and remains opposed to any sanctions relief for North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump have held three official meetings, but lower-level diplomacy has gradually ground to a halt because of Washington’s refusal to grant any concessions.
The North has been under multiple rounds of harsh sanctions by the UN and the US over its nuclear and missile programs.
In spite of those sanctions, Pyongyang has taken several unilateral steps since 2018 to show its goodwill, including demolishing a major nuclear test site and agreeing to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.
North Korea has set the end of 2019 as the deadline for the US to take reciprocal action or forgo talks.
Washington has rejected that timeline, too.
“We hope that the concerned parties will practice restraint and meet each other halfway, and work through dialog to realize positive interactions and quickly find a meeting point to find a resolution,” the Chinese vice foreign minister further said on Thursday.
The North defends its right to missile and weapons tests but has been involved in diplomacy with South Korea and the US since 2018.
Earlier this month, North Korea’s Ambassador to the UN Kim Song said denuclearization was now off the negotiating table with Washington in the face of America’s continued obstinacy.
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