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Following North Korea’s test, China reiterates call for ‘double freeze’

China has reiterated its “double freeze” call to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, frayed by Wednesday’s launch of a powerful new ballistic by North Korea.

“We think that the double freeze initiative is a viable approach in the current stage. Hope various parties can come to the path of dialogue and negotiations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said in response to a question.

China and Russia have proposed the “double freeze” or “double suspension” proposal. It calls for North Korea halting its nuclear and missile programme in return for the U.S. and South Korea suspending their major military exercises.

In his response to Wednesday’s test, Mr. Geng stopped short of condemning North Korea’s action, and also counselled Pyongyang’s detractors to exercise restraint. “China expresses grave concern and opposition to the relevant launch activity and strongly urges the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to observe the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and stop actions that heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula,” Mr. Geng said. “At the same time we also hope that the relevant parties will act cautiously and work together for the peace and stability of this region.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Geng had reaffirmed China’s commitment to the “double suspension” formulation, following remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that Beijing no longer considered this proposal relevant. “We believe that the ‘dual suspension’ proposal is the most feasible, fair and sensible plan in the present situation,” Mr. Geng had had observed.“Not only can it relieve the present tense situation, it can also resolve all parties most pressing security concerns, and provide an opportunity and create conditions to resume talks, and find a breakthrough point to get out of trouble,” he added.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 1:07:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/following-north-koreas-test-china-reiterates-call-for-double-freeze/article21130966.ece

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