China backs DPRK ‘Freeze for Freeze’

World Today

China continues to back the “Freeze for Freeze” approach to the DPRK nuclear issue despite claims to the contrary from U.S. President Donald Trump.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

Back at the White House after his trip to Asia, President Donald Trump claimed he convinced China to abandon the so-called “freeze for freeze” approach to the DPRK nuclear issue.

“President Xi recognizes that a nuclear North Korea is a grave threat to China and we agree that we would not accept a so-called freeze for freeze agreement like those that have consistently failed in the past,” Trump said on Wednesday.

Just one problem: China is not on board with that – Beijing continues to back the “Freeze for Freeze” approach.

“Only by addressing the legitimate concerns of all parties in a balanced way through dialogue can we find a way fundamentally out of the peninsular issue,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Geng Shuang said. “That’s why China raised the dual-track approach and freeze-for-freeze initiative. We believe that the freeze-for-freeze initiative is the most viable and reasonable plan against the current backdrop.”

The “Freeze for Freeze” approach is designed to create an environment for the U.S. and the DPRK to begin constructive negotiations on the nuclear issue. Both China and Russia support this approach.

At a Thursday afternoon press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders clarified Trump’s remarks, saying: “Yeah, both sides made their position clear.  They’re different, but we agreed that they’re going to be different positions and therefore it’s not going to move forward.”

In the meantime, Trump is praising China for sending Song Tao, a senior diplomat, to the DPRK , tweeting: “China is sending an Envoy and Delegation to North Korea – A big move, we’ll see what happens!”

But Beijing notes that Tao is not going to the DPRK to broker a nuclear deal. “His main objective for going to DPRK is to report on 19th Party Congress,” Geng said.

Earlier this week, the diplomat carried out similar duties in Vietnam and Laos.