U.S. Urges China to Agree to Tougher Sanctions on North Korea

#US. Urges #China to Agree to Tougher Sanctions on #NorthKorea-

China must show leadership in international efforts to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons program by agreeing to tougher sanctions against its neighbor, a top American diplomat said here on Wednesday on his way to Beijing to discuss how to respond to the North’s latest nuclear test.

“We believe that China has a special role to play,” said the diplomat, Antony J. Blinken. “It has more influence and more leverage over North Korea than any other country because virtually all North Korea’s trade goes to, from or through China.”

Mr. Blinken, the deputy secretary of state, spoke to reporters after meeting with senior South Korean foreign affairs and defense officials to coordinate Washington’s and Seoul’s responses to the North’s nuclear test on Jan. 6, its fourth since 2006. Later on Wednesday, he was to fly to Beijing, where he planned to discuss North Korea and other security issues on Thursday with Chinese officials, including the executive vice foreign minister, Zhang Yesui.

 A Chinese paramilitary police officer standing guard outside the North Korean Embassy in Beijing. Credit Andy Wong/Associated Press

A Chinese paramilitary police officer standing guard outside the North Korean Embassy in Beijing. Credit Andy Wong/Associated Press

For years, the United States has called on China to use its economic leverage to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. But China has been reluctant to put as much pressure on the North as Washington has wanted because of fears that to do so would make it more aggressive or even push its government to collapse. China considers neither situation in its strategic interest, analysts say.

After the North’s most recent nuclear test, Washington and its allies, including South Korea and Japan, cited the move as proof that China had not done enough to curb the government it has supported for six decades. They urged China to agree that the United Nations Security Council should adopt a new resolution authorizing “strong and comprehensive” sanctions against the North.

But China, while condemning the North Korean nuclear test, has emphasized the need to start a dialogue with the North, saying that the United States and other nations need to address “both the symptoms and root causes” of the country’s nuclear issue.

Mr. Blinken also said on Wednesday that the United States was working both unilaterally and with its allies to add other sanctions to any adopted by the Security Council.

Hong Lei, the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Monday that North Korea, the United States and others needed to “stay on the path of resolving the issue through dialogues and consultations, meet each other halfway, properly address each other’s concerns and strive for enduring peace and stability of the region with concerted efforts.”

In its first statement since its nuclear test, North Korea reiterated on Friday that it would settle American concerns about its nuclear weapons only if Washington first signed a peace treaty to end its “hostile policy” toward the North, “the root cause of all problems.”

The 1950-53 Korean War was halted in a cease-fire, leaving the peninsula technically still at war.

Source – nytimes

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