China urges joint efforts to denuclearize NKorea
BEIJING (AP) — Beijing called for joint efforts to denuclearize the Korea Peninsula on Thursday following reports that North Korea may be restarting a plutonium nuclear reactor.
“To achieve denuclearization and to maintain peace and stability is what China has been advocating,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a daily briefing. “It takes efforts from all sides.”
A U.S. research institute said Wednesday that a recent satellite image appears to show North Korea is restarting its 5-megawatt reactor at the Nyongbyon nuclear facility, which was shuttered in 2007 under the terms of a six-nation disarmament agreement.
North Korea threatened in April to restart the reactor but has since toned down its inflammatory rhetoric and stepped up diplomacy with rival South Korea.
South Korea has yet to respond to the report by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Its National Intelligence Service has said it could not confirm the report because confidential information is involved.
U.S. officials have expressed concerns, calling on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and programs. U.S. special envoy Glyn Davies has traveled to Beijing this week to discuss the nuclear issue with China. Hong said all sides should work to resume the six-party talks.