South Korean president to press China on North's nuclear arsenal

June 24, 2013 at 2:52 PM

SEOUL, June 24 (UPI) -- An upcoming bilateral summit between China and South Korea is expected to revolve largely around North Korea's nuclear weapons arsenal, officials said.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye told a meeting of top government officials she intends to press China, a North Korean ally, to do more to force the North to give up its nuclear weapons and become a more responsible member of the international community, Yonhap news agency said Monday.

Park and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss the issue personally.

A free-trade agreement between two of Asia's largest economies will also be discussed.

"I think the Korea-China summit has a special meaning as both South Korea and China ushered in new governments, and it comes at a more important juncture than at any other time in terms of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and economic aspects," Park said during a weekly meeting with senior secretaries. "I will try to make cooperation between the two countries more substantial and harden Korea-China cooperation for the sake of attaining the goal of North Korea's denuclearization so as to make North Korea come forward for sincere talks."

China has historically resisted international pressure to use its leverage against North Korea but the North's increasingly erratic behavior including its third nuclear bomb test and a long-range missile test have forced the Chinese to take a harder line against the North.

China joined the U.N. Security Council in enacting further economic sanctions against North Korea after the provocative tests.

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