China's foreign minister on Thursday called on North Korea not to go further in a "dangerous direction" with its nuclear program and said negotiations were the only way out of the crisis over Pyongyang's weapons development.
Wang Yi also told the annual U.N. General Assembly China was committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and there should be no new nuclear weapons north or south of the border, or elsewhere in Northeast Asia.
He urged the United States to honor its "four 'no' commitment," an apparent reference to an Aug. 1 statement by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in which he said Washington did not seek the collapse or change of the North Korean government, accelerated reunification of the peninsula, or to send its military north of the border.
“We urge the DPRK not to go further along a dangerous direction," Wang said, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"And we call upon all parties to play a constructive role in easing tensions. There is still hope for peace and we must not give up. Negotiation is the only way out, which deserves every effort. Parties should meet each other half way, by addressing each other’s legitimate concerns.”
Wang made no mention in his speech of U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of new sanctions on Thursday that open the door wider to blacklisting people and entities doing business with North Korea, including its shipping and trade networks.
China, North Korea's main trading partner, has backed successive rounds of United Nations sanctions over North Korean nuclear bomb tests, but has repeatedly said it is opposed to unilateral sanctions and especially "long-arm jurisdiction" over Chinese entities and individuals.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Yara Bayoumy and Arshad Mohammed at the United Nations; Editing by James Dalgleish)