Ruling party chief says China's 'stick' needed to rein in N. Korea

The leader of South Korea's ruling Democratic Party on Thursday urged China to use its "stick" to rein in an increasingly provocative North Korea in the wake of Pyongyang's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Choo Mi-ae, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks during a press conference at Gimpo International Airport before departing for China on Nov. 30, 2017. (Yonhap)
Choo Mi-ae, the leader of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks during a press conference at Gimpo International Airport before departing for China on Nov. 30, 2017. (Yonhap)

Choo Mi-ae made the remarks during a luncheon with South Korean residents in Beijing shortly after she landed in the Chinese capital for a four-day visit to attend an international political forum and for talks with top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping.

Her visit came a day after Pyongyang fired off what it claims to have been a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland, violating U.N. resolutions and drawing global condemnation.

"Though there are still signs of compassion towards the North within China, there needs to be China's stick to prevent Pyongyang's misjudgment," she said.

Decrying the North's latest missile launch as a threat to the whole world, Choo said that the North is "not properly" responding to international efforts to peacefully resolve the nuclear standoff.

Touching on the Seoul-Beijing ties frayed over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile battery, Choo acknowledged that improving them would take "time and procedures," and stressed the need for continued bilateral communication to shore up trust.

"I will help tide over the challenges by bolstering exchanges between the parties (of the two countries) and fostering mutual trust," she added.

Before her departure for Beijing, Choo told reporters that she would use her trip to underscore the need for stringent sanctions against the North.

"I will discuss with the Chinese authorities the direction of bilateral cooperation regarding the new level of North Korean provocations and help the coordination vis-a-vis the upcoming summit between the leaders of the two countries," Choo said.

Choo added that China is "at the core of international cooperation" in enforcing anti-Pyongyang sanctions.

Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have been heaping pressure on Beijing to do more to address the nuclear standoff. They think China has the strongest economic and diplomatic leverage over its wayward ally, while Beijing believes its influence is only limited.

The ruling party chief also said that she would strive to set the mood for the swift restoration of Seoul-Beijing ties, which have been strained over the U.S. missile defense system that China argues could undermine its security interests.

During her stay in China, Choo will attend the conference, titled the "Communist Party of China in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting."

   The political conference is to be held under the main theme "Working Together Towards A Community with A Shared Future for Humanity and A Better World: Responsibilities of Political Parties." It is to be attended by the leaders of nearly 260 political parties and organizations from across the globe.

On the sidelines of the conference, Choo is set to meet Chinese leader Xi for talks Friday, her aide said. On Sunday, she will deliver a keynote speech at the forum.

Earlier this month, Choo visited the United States as part of her diplomatic efforts to strengthen the bilateral alliance and help address pending issues, such as trade and evolving North Korean threats.

Choo also plans to visit Russia next month and Japan early next year.

 By Yonhap.

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