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Kerry in China to pressure N Korea
April 13, 2013, 6:28 am

China and the US both want N Korea to back down from its 'nuclear' threats [Xinhua]

China and the US both want N Korea to back down from its ‘nuclear’ threats [Xinhua]

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Beijing, the second stop in his four-day East Asia diplomatic initiative, where he is likely to call on Chinese leaders to rein in North Korea.

Kerry met with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Saturday morning, according to the Chinese foreign ministry, and will hold talks with other Chinese leaders.

“There is no group of leaders on the face of the planet who have more capacity to make a difference in this than the Chinese, and everybody knows it, including, I believe, them,” Kerry said while in South Korea on Friday.

Tensions began escalating on the KoreanPeninsula after international sanctions were imposed on North Korea in response to a long-range rocket launch in December, which world powers condemned as a ballistic missile test. North Korea responded by carrying out a third nuclear test in February, which was followed by more sanctions.

Pyongyang has threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the US mainland and US military bases in the region.

Some of its latest threats came after US and South Korean forces carried out annual joint military exercises, some of which took place near the maritime border between the two Koreas.

South Korea will not resort to forces first amid the escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula, the country’s ambassador to China said.

“The Republic of Korea is not going to take any provocative military behaviour now, and will not do so in the future,” Ambassador Lee Kyu-hyung told Xinhuanet in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Before heading to China on Friday, Kerry told reporters in South Korea that the world would not accept North Korea as a nuclear power.

A joint South Korean-US statement issued after Kerry left the Peninsula, indicated the US preference for diplomacy to end the tensions.

However, it emphasised that Pyongyang must take “meaningful” steps on denuclearisation.

“We will continue to encourage North Korea to make the right choice. If North Korea does so, we are prepared to implement the commitments under the 2005 Six-Party Joint Statement,” the statement added.

The 2005 Six-Party Joint Statement promises food, medicines and assistance to North Korea in exchange for denuclearisation.

Source: Agencies

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