Sat, Feb 15, 2014 - Page 1 News List

China to push N Korea, Kerry says

MAN IN MIDDLE:The US Secretary of State welcomed Beijing’s stance on issues in the region, and asked all parties to refrain from asserting their territorial claims

Reuters, BEIJING

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left,meets with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing yesterday.

Photo: AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday that China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its controversial nuclear program and take additional steps to achieve this goal.

He told reporters in Beijing that he was pleased that China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

“I encouraged the Chinese to use every tool at their disposal, all of the means of persuasion that they have, building on the depths of their long and historic, and cultural and common history [with North Korea],” he said.

“But they made it very clear that if the North doesn’t comply and come to the table and be serious about talks and stop its program ... that they are prepared to take additional steps in order to make sure that their policy is implemented,” Kerry added. “Now what we are talking about is sort of the specifics of how you do that. And they put some ideas on the table, and we put some ideas on the table.”

Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) told Kerry that China would work with all parties concerned, including the US, to play a constructive role for the region’s peace and stability.

“China will never allow chaos or war on the Korean Peninsula,” Wang said, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“China is serious on this, as shown not only in our words, but in our actions,” Wang said.

North Korea was raised during Kerry’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), according to the ministry, with Xi “setting forth China’s stance.” The ministry provided no other details.

The East and South China Seas also featured prominently on Kerry’s agenda, with him calling for a “more rule-of-law based, less confrontational regime.”

The US has been increasingly uneasy about what it sees as China’s effort to gain creeping control over waters in the Asia-Pacific region, including its declaration on Nov. 23 last year of an air defense identification zone in an area of the East China Sea that includes islands at the center of a dispute with Japan.

China also claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square kilometer South China Sea, depicting what it sees as its area on maps with a so-called nine-dash line, looping far out over the sea from south China.

China and ASEAN have been discussing a code of conduct for the South China Sea and Kerry said he believed China was ready and wanted to achieve that goal.

“That would help reduce tensions that stem from the territorial and maritime disputes and, in the meantime, it’s very important that everybody build crisis management tools and refrain from coercive or unilateral measures to assert whatever claims any country in the region may have,” he said.

Wang said China was committed to a peaceful resolution of both the East and South China Seas disputes, but urged the US not to take sides and said China had an “unshakable resolve” to protect its sovereignty.

The US should “respect historical facts and China’s sovereign interests, adhere to an objective and impartial stance and take tangible actions to promote mutual trust in the region so as to safeguard regional peace and stability,” Wang said.

Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also have claims over the South China Sea, or at least parts of it.

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