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G-20 summit Osaka

Xi pushes for third Trump-Kim summit

North Korea says US needs to present 'proper counterproposal' for talks to resume

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 27 met for the first time since November's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. (Photos via Reuters/Kyodo)

OSAKA -- China is in favor of another U.S.-North Korea summit to work toward denuclearization, President Xi Jinping told South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in a meeting here Thursday, on the eve of the Group of 20 summit.

Their meeting comes a week after Xi visited Pyongyang and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"The general trend toward deescalation and dialogue remains unchanged on the peninsula, and a political settlement remains an optimal option of all sides," Xi told Moon, according to China's Xinhua News Agency.

"Facts have proven that the only way to solving the Korean Peninsula issue is to resolve their respective legitimate concerns step by step through dialogue and consultation with a phased and synchronized approach," he said, taking a similar stance to that of Kim.

"China supports the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. to hold a new meeting round and hopes that they will show flexibility and strive for progress," he said.

The Chinese president briefed Moon on his meeting last week with Kim, saying the North Korean leader remains committed to denuclearization, according to Seoul's presidential Blue House.

"North Korea should keep moving toward denuclearization, but North Korea's concerns should also be considered," Xi told Moon.

"South Korea will continue improving its relationship with Pyongyang, working with China to achieve denuclearization and peace on the peninsula," Moon said.

Meanwhile, in Pyongyang, Kwon Jong Gun, the director-general of the Department of American Affairs of North Korea's foreign ministry, released a statement on Thursday expressing frustration toward the U.S.

The U.S. "repeatedly talks about resumption of dialogue like a parrot without considering any realistic proposal that would fully conform with the interests of both sides," the official said.

"Even though we are to think of holding a dialogue with the U.S., we need first to see a proper approach towards the negotiation on the part of the U.S.," Kwon said, adding that talks can only happen "when the U.S. comes up with a proper counterproposal."

In the Osaka meeting, Xi urged Moon to resolve the friction between China and South Korea over Seoul's 2017 deployment of the U.S. missile defense system Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD. 

Beijing -- which objected to the deployment over concerns that the system's radar could be used to spy on China -- has yet to lift some retaliatory measures, including a ban on tour groups visiting South Korea.

Moon responded by saying that the denuclearization issue has to be solved for Seoul to move on the issue.

Xi called the economic relationship between China and South Korea "completely mutually beneficial," according to China Central Television. He warned against "outside pressure," an apparent reference to the U.S. pressing allies to shut Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies out of their markets.

Xi and Moon last met in November 2018, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. The two leaders affirmed Thursday that they will look to have Xi visit South Korea within the year.

Marrian Zhou in New York contributed to this report.

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