September 2, 2015 / 7:07 AM / in 4 years

China's Xi urges resumption of North Korea nuclear talks

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a resumption of multilateral nuclear talks with North Korea on Wednesday and said he opposed any move to worsen tension.

North and South Korea averted a full-on military confrontation last week and reached an agreement to improve ties following a rare exchange of artillery fire over their heavily fortified border.

Xi made his call during a meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Beijing.

“China has all along upheld the aim of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, the maintaining of the peninsula’s peace and stability and resolving issues via dialogue and consultations,” Xi said, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

China believed previous agreements reached during so-called six-party talks with North Korea - which include the United States, Japan, Russia and South Korea - should be fulfilled, along with relevant U.N. resolutions, he added.

Numerous efforts to restart the talks since they were last held more than six years ago have failed.

China “opposes any actions which may cause tensions” and all sides should work hard to resume talks, Xi said.

Park told Xi she appreciated China’s help in defusing tension with North Korea that had pushed the neighbors to the brink of conflict.

“I hope to share candid opinions with President Xi about the Korean peninsula’s political situation today as tensions continue to remain on the peninsula,” Park said at the meeting, according to a report provided by her office

Park began a three-day trip to China to attend its commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Asia, and is scheduled to attend a military parade on Thursday.

Park’s sixth summit meeting with Xi highlighted the growing ties between the neighbors, as China has grown increasingly frustrated with North Korea.

China, North Korea’s sole major ally, backed it in the 1950-53 Korean War, with late leader Mao Zedong’s eldest son dying in the conflict with the South and its allies.

China, the world’s largest exporter, is now South Korea’s biggest trading partner. South Korea is one of the few developed countries that runs a surplus with China.

Choe Ryong Hae, secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea’s Workers’ Party, will also attend China’s military parade, but it is unclear whether Choe will meet the South Korean leader.

Choe is close to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard, and Ju-min Park in Seoul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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