Kerry: China prepared to make sure North Korea drops nuclear program

Feb. 14, 2014 at 4:53 PM
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BEIJING, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Chinese leaders have made it clear North Korea must eventually give up its nuclear weapons program, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday.

Kerry -- speaking at a news conference in Beijing -- told reporters about his meetings earlier in the day with President XI Jinping and other leaders. He spoke both of the many areas where the United States and China are prepared to work together and areas of difficulty.

Kerry said China is prepared to work with the United States on reducing greenhouse gases, and said the two countries are jointly responsible for 40 percent of the world's carbon pollution.

"It is imperative for us to work together in order to ensure that an ambitious international climate agreement that the united -- the U.N. Climate Summit in 2015 can be achieved," he said.

Kerry said Chinese leaders would prefer North Korea negotiate and end to its nuclear program. but are "prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure that their policy is implemented."

Kerry was in Seoul Thursday to coordinate with South Korea on the issue of North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons as part of a multi-country diplomatic trip. After his visit to China, Kerry will travel to Indonesia and Abu Dhabi.

Before leaving Seoul, Kerry said during a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se he wanted to "confirm that the United States re-balance to the Asia Pacific remains a top priority for the Obama administration."

The re-balancing policy, which Beijing sees as directed against China, is designed to strengthen the U.S. position as a Pacific power. Various U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed the policy shift is not directed against any nation but is meant to underscore that the United States is, and will remain, a Pacific power.

Kerry said every day, under President Barack Obama's leadership, Washington is "directing more diplomatic, more economic and more military resources to help advance the goals that we share with our partners throughout this region."

In this context, Kerry said the U.S.-South Korea alliance is "crucial to that re-balance" and that "our relationship is without question the lynch pin of stability and of security in Northeast Asia."

The White House has announced Obama will visit Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea in April.

The six-nation denuclearization talks broke off in 2009 after North Korea unilaterally chose to end them.

China has been seeking to restart the talks but the United States and South Korea, given North Korea's record of not keeping its commitments, have maintained Pyongyang must first demonstrate it is taking concrete steps to keep its end of the bargain.

The other countries in the talks are Russia and Japan.

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