President Xi 'unique', 'helping us' with DPRK, U.S. leader says in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump praised China on Monday for its role in working toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Speaking to a group of U.S. governors at the White House, Trump said he has great respect for President Xi Jinping.
"I think that President Xi is unique. He's helping us with North Korea－who, by the way, wants to talk, as of last night－you heard that," Trump said.
Kim Yong-chol, who headed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's delegation at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in the Republic of Korea, said on Monday that his country is willing to have talks with the U.S., and that the door for dialogue between the two countries remains open, according to the ROK's Yonhap News Agency.
Kim's remarks came just a day after he told ROK President Moon Jae-in that the DPRK has "enough willingness" to engage in bilateral talks with the U.S..
"They want to talk. And we want to talk also, only under the right conditions. Otherwise, we're not talking," Trump told the U.S. governors.
The U.S. president blamed his predecessors Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton for not being effective in addressing the issue.
Trump announced stricter sanctions on the DPRK on Friday, eliciting condemnation from the DPRK, which called the U.S. measures "an act of war".
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang welcomed the message from the meetings between the DPRK and the ROK.
He said China has stressed many times that the core of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is about security, the settlement of which hinges on the DPRK and the U.S..
"Thus, direct talks between the two parties are indispensable if the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is to be resolved and a fundamental turnaround in the Korean Peninsula situation is to be achieved," Lu said at a news briefing in Beijing on Monday. He reiterated the ministry's position on Tuesday, as well.
China has long called for a dual-suspension approach to ease tensions on the peninsula and to pave the way for denuclearization. That is for the DPRK to halt its nuclear and missile tests and the U.S. and ROK to cease their joint military drills.