China Is Optimistic on Reaching Deal With U.S. Over North Korea

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 20, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

Chinese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi on Thursday said he was op­tim­ist­ic about the chances of reach­ing a new un­der­stand­ing with the United States on re-en­ga­ging North Korea about its nuc­le­ar weapons work, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

“I am con­fid­ent that we will be able to reach a new, im­port­ant agree­ment” on how to re­in­vig­or­ate para­lyzed mul­tina­tion­al talks on North Korea’s nuc­le­ar arms, Wang said at a Wash­ing­ton press brief­ing ahead of a meet­ing with U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry.

As the host of the six-na­tion talks, China has been a big pro­ponent of re­sum­ing the aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion ne­go­ti­ations that were last held in Decem­ber 2008. The dis­cus­sions in­clude Ja­pan, the two Koreas, Rus­sia and the United States.

Earli­er this week, North Korea’s seni­or nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­at­or at a con­fer­ence in Beijing said Py­ongy­ang was pre­pared to re­turn to the nuc­le­ar talks if there were no pre­con­di­tions.

The U.S. State De­part­ment on Thursday said there had been no al­ter­a­tion in Wash­ing­ton’s long­stand­ing de­mand that North Korea first con­cretely show its com­mit­ment to de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion be­fore ne­go­ti­ations are re­sumed.

“Our po­s­i­tion on this hasn’t changed,” de­part­ment deputy spokes­wo­man Mar­ie Harf told re­port­ers. “We’ve said that the onus is on North Korea to take mean­ing­ful ac­tions to­ward de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion.” Her re­marks sug­ges­ted there had no quick head­way achieved dur­ing the meet­ing with Wang.

Mean­while, a new ex­pert study is re­com­mend­ing Beijing and Wash­ing­ton con­tem­plate es­tab­lish­ing a sep­ar­at­ing bound­ary that es­tab­lishes spheres of Chinese and U.S. in­terest in North Korea in the af­ter­math of a pos­sible col­lapse of the Kim Jong Un re­gime, Agence France-Presse re­por­ted on Thursday.

Should the re­gime im­plode, it is highly likely that South Korea and the United States would enter the North in or­der to se­cure the coun­try’s un­con­ven­tion­al weapons, among oth­er reas­ons. The Chinese mil­it­ary might also in­ter­vene in or­der to pre­vent a mass wave of North Korean refugees flee­ing in­to China, cre­at­ing the po­ten­tial for a show­down between al­lied U.S. and South Korean forces and Chinese troops, con­cludes the study by the re­search think-tank RAND Corp.

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