Kerry Pushes China, and China Pushes Back

The secretary of State said China would take additional steps on North Korea, but details are scarce.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to deliver the keynote address at the 10th Anniversary Saban Forum, Power Shifts: US-Israel Relations in a Dynamic Middle East, in Washington on December 7, 2013.
National Journal
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Jordain Carney
Feb. 14, 2014, 6:08 a.m.

Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry pressed China on curb­ing North Korea’s nuc­le­ar am­bi­tions dur­ing a meet­ing Fri­day, but Chinese of­fi­cials said be­fore the meet­ing they have played their “due role.”

Kerry met with Chinese Pres­id­ent Xi Jin­ping on Fri­day, where the two dis­cussed North Korea, cli­mate change, and re­cent ten­sions over the East China Sea.

“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 … they are pre­pared to take ad­di­tion­al steps in or­der to make sure their policy is im­ple­men­ted,” Kerry told re­port­ers in Beijing after the meet­ing.

Asked about the meet­ing, Chinese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi said Xi dis­cussed “China’s stance” on North Korea, but didn’t provide fur­ther de­tails.

Chinese For­eign Min­istry spokes­wo­man Hua Chun­y­ing said ahead of the meet­ing that China has played its “due role” in curb­ing North Korea’s pro­gram.

Ex­perts told The Wash­ing­ton Post that China is un­likely to up­set North Korea — a long-time ally — to push for a U.S.-led ef­fort on de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion.

A State De­part­ment of­fi­cial said ahead of Kerry’s trip that the sec­ret­ary is hop­ing “to en­list great­er and great­er levels of Chinese co­oper­a­tion in ac­tu­ally help­ing to achieve the goal of de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion, not just talk­ing about it.”

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