Beijing has called for the denuclearization of the stubborn Korean peninsula amid rising tensions in the region.

North Korea is standing firms on its nuclear ambitions despite sanctions imposed by the United Nations, a senior envoy from Seoul said following a visit to China last week.

During a conference on the visit made by a group of special envoys, Cho Yoon-sun, spokesman for President-elect Park Geun-hye, delivered remarks from Communist Party chief Xi Jinping saying that China maintains its stance that denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and preventing weapons of mass destruction are necessary to keep the peace in region, Korea JoongAng Daily reports.

The delegation had impelled China to “play an important role in leading North Korea to make the right choice” during the visit last week where they met with Xi.

“Xi Jinping thinks highly of the president-elect’s trust-based diplomacy efforts and he hopes bilateral tensions will move forward by establishing a trust-based relationship between the leaders,” Cho said.

Senior lawmaker Kim Moo-sung led the group – the first delegation sent by Park since her victory – which included members of the ruling party as well as experts.

The delegation’s visit to Beijing comes as Pyongyang threatens further provocations in defiance of the Security Council which condemned North Korea’s long-range rocket launch in December.

China, North Korea’s closest ally, has been considered crucial in persuading the regime to agree to denuclearization efforts.