China and Russia have both welcomed an agreement by North Korea to suspend its uranium enrichment program in exchange for food aid from the Unites States.
Pyongyang has also agreed to cease nuclear missile tests and permit officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to observe and monitor compliance with the moratorium.
The agreement was reached in Beijing between American and North Korean officials and may beckon a new type of relationship between Pyongyang and the rest of the world.
Japan, South Korea and the U.S. hailed the agreement immediately early Wednesday. Now, two powerful nations closely associated with North Korea have also praised the development.
Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said Beijing hopes that six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can quickly resumed. (Such negotiations, which include the U.S., China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas, broke down more than two years ago).
An editorial by the state-controlled Xinhua news agency of China welcomed the pact, but remained somewhat cautious about hopes for a nuclear-free future on the Korean peninsula.
“Any somber mind would agree that to achieve the ultimate goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, all parties concerned have to embark on a long path of negotiations given the complexity of the issue,” said the Xinhua piece.
“Since launched in August 2003, the Six-Party Talks have churned out various documents underlining respective obligations of the participating nations so as to finally achieve a peaceful resolution of the thorny issue. Just as the proof is in the pudding, the true value of these documents can only be realized when the six parties all put earnest efforts into implementing what they have committed.”
Xinhua further warned the U.S. from becoming militarily involved in the Asia-Pacific region.
“The United States could refrain from further flexing its military muscle in war games around the Korean Peninsula so as not to ratchet up tension in the area,” the Chinese agency stated.
“China will make joint efforts with the other concerned parties to promote the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and in northeast Asia as a whole.”
Russia also embraced the North Korean-U.S. deal.
We welcome North Korea's decision to impose a moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and launching long-range ballistic missiles, and enriching uranium, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Moscow noted that it had long urged the North Koreans to resume six-party talks designed to denuclearize the peninsula.
Such parallel efforts by the participants in the six-party talks ... are gradually bringing us closer to their resumption, the Russian government added.