Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Are the US and China Ready to Cooperate More on N. Korea?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Are the US and China Ready to Cooperate More on N. Korea?

Article excerpt

US Secretary of State John Kerry and China's foreign minister agreed Wednesday on the need for a UN resolution condemning North Korea for its latest nuclear test. But the two men did not agree on specific actions to take.

The announcement followed an apparently tense five-hour meeting in Beijing between the two top diplomats. While the decision offers a hint of progress, it also highlights the wide gulf between the US and China on what should be done to address North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal.

Secretary Kerry, who started a three-nation Asia swing in Laos and Cambodia, vowed to raise the pressure on North Korea. He pressed China, the pariah nation's main ally, to do the same, emphasizing that nations that "seek a global leadership role, or have a global leadership role, have a responsibility to deal with this threat."

If China fails to do more, Kerry held out the possibility that Washington could take steps that Beijing strongly opposes, including deploying a missile system to South Korea to protect US allies in the region.

"This is a threat the United States must take extremely seriously," Kerry said at a news conference with the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, after their meeting, according to The New York Times. "The United States will take all necessary steps to protect our people and allies. We don't want to heighten security tensions. But we won't walk away from any options."

For his part, Mr. Wang insisted that China was already working hard to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions and rejected any "groundless speculation" on its commitment to such efforts, reports Reuters.

China voted in the UN Security Council to sanction North Korea over its previous nuclear tests and condemned the latest, which took place on Jan. 6. But Wang made it clear that China was prepared to go only so far in cooperating with the US and suggested that Beijing would not support new penalties. …

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