Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Choe Ryong-hae, the special envoy of Kim Jong-un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), in Beijing, capital of China, May 24, 2013. Choe, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army and a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee, arrived in Beijing Wednesday. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China's support for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula on Friday during a meeting with Choe Ryong-hae, the special envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Choe, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army, presented a handwritten letter from Kim to Xi and said North Korea is willing to take positive actions to solve problems through dialogue, including returning to the long-stalled Six-Party Talks.
Analysts said his visit could help improve North Korea's relationship with China and ease Pyongyang's diplomatic isolation, but the chances of resuming dialogue still look grim as Choe made no new offer to abandon his country's nuclear program.
Xi told Choe that the denuclearization of the peninsula was an aspiration of all peoples and an inevitable trend.
"China has a very clear position concerning the issue that all the parties involved should stick to the objective of denuclearization, safeguard peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation," Xi stressed.
The main objective for Choe's visit to China was to ease North Korea's diplomatic pressure and the isolation it faced after its nuclear test and missile launches, Cai Jian, deputy director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Friday.
"North Korea has a special relationship with China, it is necessary for Pyongyang to make its intentions clear to the Chinese leadership and seek China's understanding," Cai said.
Choe also met with Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Fan Changlong on Friday.
Fan said tensions on the Korean Peninsula regarding the nuclear issue have intensified strategic conflicts and jeopardized peace and stability on the peninsula.
Choe said his country needs a stable and peaceful environment for development.
However, Zhang Liangui, a specialist on Korean issues at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, told the Global Times Friday that without a sincere offer from North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons, the resumption of the Six-Party Talks remains unlikely.
"Despite China's repeated calls for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and pushing for a return to the talks, Choe did not mention North Korea's position on denuclearization in his meetings with Chinese leaders," Zhang said.
"And more importantly, Pyongyang already declared in April that the development of nuclear weapons is one of its foremost priorities. So I don't think they will make any concessions on the issue," he added.
The aid-for-disarmament talks, involving the two Koreas, the US, Japan, Russia and host China, collapsed in 2009 after the North walked away from the deal.
The US State Department's acting deputy spokesperson Patrick Ventrell said Wednesday China had notified the US in advance of Choe's visit, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
He stressed the Washington and Beijing "are of the same view that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is essential if we're to move forward with North Korea."
South Korea's unification ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said on Friday Seoul's position toward the North remains steadfast and that other countries share this view, Yonhap said.
"The North must give up its weapons of mass destruction and take actions that can win the trust of the international community," he said, adding Seoul has no plan to reward Pyongyang for bad behavior or brinkmanship.
Russian Foreign Ministry special envoy Grigory Logvinov said Friday Moscow welcomed Pyongyang's willingness to return to the negotiating table, Interfax news agency reported.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga Friday also welcomed the recent moves by the North, Kyodo News reported.