BEIJING: China today refuted US President Donald Trump's remarks hinting that President Xi Jinping had a role in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un having a change of mind over Korean peace talks, and said its intentions are "above board".
"I think there was a change in attitude from Kim Jong-un after his meeting with Xi. There was a difference after Kim Jong un left China the second time. President Xi is a world-class poker player," Trump said three days ago, casting doubts on China's role leading up to the cancellation of his summit with Kim planned for next month in Singapore.
"Maybe nothing happened, I'm not blaming anybody. But there was a different attitude from the North Korean folks after that second meeting" between Xi and Kim, Trump said stressing that he has a good personal relationship with the Chinese president.
Kim made his first visit to China on March 27 as he warmed up to Trump's overtures with direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
But after agreeing for a summit meeting with Trump, he again made a surprise second visit to China on May 8 and held a Wuhan-style summit with Xi which the US president says has changed the North Korean dictator's mind.
"As for China's role, we said many times that China has always played a positive and constructive role on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said here when asked about Trump's allegation.
"Our intentions are above board. In fact our position is that the parties should stay committed to the denuclearisation of the peninsula, and maintaining peace, stability on the peninsula (by) resolving the issue through consultation. Our position remained unchanged," he said.
"All relevant parties should not lose sight of the consistency of the Chinese position. When holding talks with the US and DPRK (North Korea), China has always stated our position in this regard," he said.
Lu put the onus of failure on the US saying that all parties should reflect on the issue.
"The political settlement of the issue calls on all parties, especially all parties directly concerned, to move in the same direction and demonstrate goodwill. In this aspect, all relevant parties should reflect on themselves and how much they have done," he said.
About the allegation that China is influencing Kim to seek a bigger role in Korean peace talks in order to get a better trade deal with the US in the current trade conflict between the two nations, Lu called it an "over interpretation".
"As for China's bigger role, whether it becomes a bargaining chip for China on other issues, you make over interpretation of it," he said. China's position on Sino-US trade talks is always "above board," he said.
"The trade ties are mutually beneficial. We hope the US leaders and government can always focus on maintaining the global growth and upholding the interests of US people and the business community. With this in mind they should make concerted efforts with China to resolve the economic issues with China beneficial to both sides," he said.
About the cancellation of the Singapore summit by Trump, Lu said both the US and North Korea had still left the door open for talks.
"The recent easing situation on the peninsula is hard won, the political settlement process is faced with a rare historic opportunity," he said.
"We believe as the parties directly engaged on the issue, the summit of the DPRK and the US can play a crucial role for promoting the denuclearisation of the peninsula," Lu said, using North Korea's official initials.
"Under the current circumstances we strongly hope that both DPRK and the US can cherish the recent positive progress, stay patient, demonstrate goodwill and move in the same direction and continue to stay committed to denuclearisation and resolve each other's legitimate concerns through dialogue and consultation," he said.