Chinese Military Denies Setting Up Hotline on North Korea With US - Reports

Huang Panyue

BEIJING (Sputnik) – Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Northern Theater Command has not established a line of communication with US forces in South Korea, the Global Times newspaper reported Tuesday, citing its sources.

According to the Global Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, the US forces in South Korea are not in direct contact with the Northern Theater Command or any other Chinese military organization. Additionally, there are no plans to set up such a hotline, the outlet added.

The publication further reported, citing another anonymous military analyst, that such "fake news" was aimed at putting Beijing and Pyongyang against each other in order to distract South Korea’s attention.

The statements come a day after Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported that a direct hotline would be set up between the US forces' Seoul headquarters and the Northern Theater Command, located in China's northeastern Liaoning province. The purpose of this line of communication was allegedly aiming to exchange information on North Korea in line with an agreement reached in November between US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Over the past months, tensions on the Korean Peninsula have escalated due to Pyongyang's repeated missile launches and continuing US military buildup in South Korea.

North Korea has been subjected to a round of comprehensive sanctions, with the UN Security Council unanimously adopting a resolution on tightening sanctions against North Korea over its November 29 ballistic missile launch last week.

Following the adoption of the UNSC resolution, China called on all the parties concerned to show restraint and undertake joint efforts in order to de-escalate tensions on the peninsula.

China backed by Russia has proposed a so-called "double freeze" plan to settle the crisis, according to which North Korea ceases its nuclear missile tests, while US-South Korean military drills are simultaneously halted. The initiative has been rejected by Washington.

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