Chinese President Xi Jinping told South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's commitment to denuclearization and reconciliation with South Korea remains unchanged, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Xi briefed Moon on the results of his visit to Pyongyang last week as they met each other in Osaka, Japan, one day before the opening of the Group of 20 summit.
Kim is hoping for an "improvement in external conditions" as his regime is striving for economic development and better living conditions of the people in accordance with a "new strategic (policy) line," Xi was quoted as saying by Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung.
He was apparently referring to a wide web of U.N.-led sanctions on Pyongyang.
Kim wants to resolve the issue through dialogue and maintain patience to seek a "reasonable method" at an early date, Xi told Moon.
Xi also said the North intends to push for inter-Korean cooperation and reconciliation by keeping the dialogue mood intact.
Ko described Xi's remarks as his "impression" from talks with Kim.
In response, Moon said Xi's activity in the North's capital, along with the exchange of personal letters between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, has spurred the "momentum" of Washington-Pyongyang dialogue.
With regard to the repatriation of the remains of Chinese troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, Moon said many articles believed to be left by them have been discovered in South Korea. Moon vowed to send those back with respect.
Moon also voiced expectations for continued economic cooperation between South Korea and China.
They talked about various pending issues for around 40 minutes through simultaneous translation.
Some thorny issues were raised as well, such as the China-U.S. dispute over cybersecurity related to 5G technology and the advanced U.S. missile defense system deployed in South Korea, called THAAD, according to a Cheong Wa Dae official.
Xi asked Moon to resolve the THAAD problem, as Beijing has been strongly opposed to its presence on the peninsula. Moon replied that it's a matter linked with denuclearization.
At the outset of the talks, which pool media were allowed to cover, Xi said Beijing would contribute to maintaining regional peace and stability.
"If our two nations join hands, (we) can do a lot of things," he told Moon.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold talks, joined by their aides, at an Osaka hotel on June 27, 2019. (Yonhap)
"China will push incessantly for the development of bilateral ties with South Korea and contribute to maintaining peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in this region," he added.
Moon noted Xi's recent North Korea visit came at a "grave time for continued progress in the Korean Peninsula peace process," Moon's office said in a separate post-summit press release.
The two sides also agreed on the need for further "spurring" the current dialogue process to achieve the denuclearization and peace goal.
"Expressing unswerving support for our efforts for the establishment of Korean Peninsula peace and the development of South-North relations, President Xi said the Chinese side would play a constructive role for the acceleration of progress in the security conditions on the Korean Peninsula," Cheong Wa Dae said.
It was their fifth summit and first in seven months. They met each other on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) regional summit in Papua New Guinea last November.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks at a meeting with ethnic Koreans in Osaka, Japan, on June 27, 2019. (Yonhap)
Moon then hosted a dinner with around 370 ethnic Koreans in this western Japanese city.
He said South Korea will cooperate sincerely for Japan's successful hosting of the Olympics next year.
In the Olympics, Moon revealed, the athletes of the two Koreas plan to march together at the opening ceremony and field unified teams in four games.
"The scene of the unity of the South and North athletes will again fill the hearts of the people worldwide with the charge of peace," he said.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook attend a dinner meeting with ethnic Koreans in Osaka on June 27, 2019. (Yonhap)
On Friday, Moon will take part in the G-20 session meant to address such affairs as the global economy, trade, investment, combating inequality and an innovative, inclusive world vision, as well as climate change, the environment and energy.
Moon is scheduled to have separate talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the fringes of the G-20, as well as with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
He's pushing for an informal "pull-aside" with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
It remains unclear whether Moon will separately meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid a row over historical issues from Japan's brutal colonization of Korea from 1910-45.
Moon's office announced earlier that no meeting between them is planned. But the president left the door open for an impromptu meeting with Abe. (Yonhap)