China is reiterating its call for an agreement between North Korea and the US under which the North would gain concessions if it freezes its nuclear weapons program. The statement from foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang Thursday appeared to contradict President Donald Trump’s remarks Wednesday that the US and China agreed that North Korea cannot just freeze its nuclear weapons program in exchange for benefits. Trump said the North must eliminate its arsenal.
Trump was restating a long-standing US position, but also suggesting that China now concurred with Washington that a “freeze-for-freeze” agreement was unacceptable.
Geng said at a regular briefing that China’s position has not changed. He said the “freeze-for-freeze” initiative, under which the US and South Korea would suspend large-scale military exercises in return, remained a “first step.”