China's Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said China was not the key to the Korean nuclear issue, and called for negotiations and dialogue to defuse tensions.
The latest nuclear test by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is driving up regional tension and raising international concerns. Some Western media have blamed China for not doing enough to curb the DPRK.
In a signed article published on the Daily Telegraph on Friday, Liu Xiaoming, who served as China's ambassador to the DPRK before taking the diplomatic job in the United Kingdom, dismissed such criticism and said China was not the key to the DPRK crisis, the nation wants peace in Korea, and the key to solving the nuclear crisis lies with the United States and the DPRK.
"China's contribution to resolving the Korean nuclear issue is there for all to see," Liu wrote in the article.
"As a close neighbor and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has always kept in mind the big picture of maintaining regional peace and stability, and made tireless and persistent efforts to facilitate a negotiated solution."
Liu added he had been personally involved in the process.
"It was thanks to China's hard work, with the support of other parties, that the diplomatic efforts, from Three-Party Talks to Six-Party Talks, were able to sustain momentum and produce three joint documents between 2003 and 2007," he said.
The joint statement on Sept 19, 2005, outlined a roadmap for the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program and for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Liu said China has comprehensively and strictly implemented all the 16 Security Council resolutions since 2006, and reached out extensively to other parties to promote peace talks. China's role has been "active, responsible and constructive".
"To say China is not doing its part is untrue and irresponsible," he said.
The veteran diplomat added he believed "to find the key to the Korean nuclear issue, one must understand the 'lock'." Liu said at the center of the tension is security, or a sense of insecurity due to the serious mistrust between the DPRK and the US.
"It is up to the two parties that hold the key to apply the right cure by demonstrating good faith for dialogue and by working towards the goal of preventing the escalation of tensions," he said.
Liu added China was ready to help, "but you cannot put out a fire if someone continues to pour oil over it, or find fault with or even frustrate firefighting efforts."
He said he believes the only way out of the current impasse is through negotiation and dialogue, and the only solution should be a political one.
"Eight years of Six-Party Talks showed that peace on the Korean Peninsula could be maintained and progress towards denuclearization remains attainable as long as there is dialogue, " Liu said.
When talks were stalled in 2008, the situation drifted out of control. The DPRK quickened the development of its nuclear and missile technologies, and has conducted six nuclear tests and fired dozens of missiles since.
To halt the deterioration of the tension, China has proposed "double suspension" – the DPRK suspending its nuclear-related activities and the US suspending military drills with the Republic of Korea to return to the negotiation table.
Liu said he believed this would help move the "dual track approach" forward by advancing denuclearization and peace-building at the same time, leading ultimately to the replacement of the Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty.
He urged the US and the ROK to immediately call off the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, which threatens China and other countries in this region and damages trust and cooperation on the nuclear issue.
The ambassador reiterated China stood ready to work with other parties toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, restoring peace and stability, and solving the issue through dialogue and negotiation.