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US-China Seek Diplomatic Solution to Korean Crisis

  • VOA News

The United States and China are taking similar diplomatic stands as part of the international community's campaign to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Both say they want to resolve the standoff peaceably. But they also say they support the sanctions the U.N. Security Council imposed on North Korea following its test of a nuclear weapon on October 9th.

The U.S. and China expressed common cause following talks on Friday in Beijing between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. They said they favor restarting six-party talks with Pyongyang.

Those talks involve the US,China, Russia, Japan and both Koreas and are aimed at convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear program.

Rice also met with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Mr. Hu told her that China favors a calm resolution to the crisis. He called for caution to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

Rice said China has promised to fully implement the UN resolution to stop North Korea from shipping banned weapons materials. She said China assured her of careful and thorough inspections along its border with North Korea.

Rice's stop in Beijing is the third leg of a four-nation tour to discuss North Korea's recent nuclear test.

She also travels to Moscow. She stopped in Japan and South Korea before visiting China.

A Chinese envoy to North Korea said today that his visit to Pyongyang earlier this week was "not in vain." Tang Jiaxuan met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on Thursday to deliver a message from President Hu.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quotes a diplomatic source in Beijing as saying Kim Jong-Il offered assurances that North Korea is not planning another nuclear test. There are similar reports in Japanese media, but there is no independent confirmation of either the South Korean or Japanese reports.

The US State Department in Washington says it understands that Tang delivered a very strong message for North Korea not to engage in additional nuclear tests and to stop negative behavior.

China is North Korea's chief supplier of food and fuel and it is perceived as having more leverage over Pyongyang than any other nation. However, experts say Beijing fears that applying the sanctions too forcefully may cause the North Korean government to collapse, and send droves of refugees into Chinese territory.

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