China urges US to 'make efforts' on North Korea

Beijing (AFP) –


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the United States on Thursday to make efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, warning that applying "maximum pressure" would never work.

Wang also repeated Beijing's suggestion that the United Nations Security Council should consider discussions on easing sanctions against the North.

The isolated regime is under heavy US and UN sanctions over its weapons programme, and has criticised Washington's position that they will not be lifted until the country gives up its nuclear arsenal.

"Since last year, the DPRK has taken a series of positive measures, and on these grounds requested the US to meet halfway and make a positive response," Wang told reporters, using the initials of North Korea's official name.

"We think this is fair and reasonable. We hope that the US side can also take practical measures in this regard, and make due efforts to ease the situation and promote dialogue," he said, after meeting Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Bin Abdullah.

Pyongyang said this week it was willing to hold working-level talks on denuclearisation this month with the United States.

Hours later the North fired unidentified projectiles into the sea -- the latest in a series of provocations by Kim Jong Un's nuclear-armed regime.

Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been gridlocked since a second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in February ended without a deal.

The two leaders had agreed to restart working-level dialogue during an impromptu meeting at the Demilitarised Zone dividing North and South Korea in June, but those talks have yet to begin.

Wang said that imposing a list of conditions on North Korea or seeking concessions through maximum pressure "has not worked in the past, it will not work now, and it will not work in the future".