John Kerry turns to Beijing for help to contain North Korea
of State John Kerry—Photo
by Joseph Earnest
Kumar April 14, 2013
Media BEIJING—Secretary of State John Kerry flew to China on Saturday
and met with that country's top leaders, seeking their help in dealing
with North Korea, which has threatened attacks against South Korea and the U.S. and remains unwilling to return to nuclear talks.
the meetings, Kerry told reporters in Beijing he urged China to take a
more activist stance towards North Korea, and called his talks with
Chinese President Xi Jinping "constructive and forward-leaning."
President, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging
issues— issues on the Korean Peninsula, the challenge of Iran
and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around
the world that are in need of a boost," Kerry told Xi at the Great Hall
of the People, according to Reuters.
Kerry, who visited China for
the first time as secretary of state, said both governments called on
the North "to refrain from any provocative steps and that obviously
refers to any future missile shoot."
"We are able, the United
States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the
denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner," Kerry
said, adding there will be "further discussions to bear down very
quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this
China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who was
with Kerry at the press conference, was quoted as saying, "We maintain
that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through
dialogue and consultation. To properly address the Korea nuclear issue
serves the common interests of all parties. It is also the shared
responsibility of all parties."
Kerry also told Beijing that American missile
defenses in the region, which has been a concern for China, could be
reduced if North Korea discontinued its nuclear program. "Obviously if
the threat disappears—i.e. North Korea denuclearizes—the same
imperative does not exist at that point of time for us to have that kind
of robust forward leaning posture of defense," The New York Times
quoted him as saying. "And it would be our hope in the long run, or
better yet in short run, that we can address that."
of state said the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin
Dempsey, and intelligence officials will visit Beijing this month. He
said he wanted to ensure that the pledges made by Beijing were "not just
rhetoric." "There is no question in my mind that China is very serious—very serious, about denuclearizing," BBC quoted him as saying.
Xi said Kerry is the second key member of President Barack Obama's
administration to visit China within a month after Xi was elected
president in March, and this shows both countries' full understanding of
the importance of Sino-U.S. ties, according to China's state-owned
Xinhua news agency.
Currently the Sino-US relationship is in a new
era with a good start, and both sides are devoted to building a new
type of relationship between powers, Xi said, adding he believes Kerry's
visit will contribute to the positive momentum of the developing
China is North Korea's main trading partner and
financial backer, and therefore has a unique ability to use its leverage
against the impoverished, isolated state, Kerry said in South Korea on
Friday before leaving for Beijing.
Kerry's Asia visit, which
includes a stop in Tokyo on Sunday, comes weeks after North Korean
threats of war since the imposition of new U.N. sanctions in response to
its third nuclear test two months ago. Add