Gleam: China must influence North Korea | Free press

Seoul / Pyongyang (dpa) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on China to increase its influence on the neighboring country in its nuclear disarmament efforts in North Korea.

China has “clear self-interest” in working towards the denuclearization of North Korea, Blinken said in Seoul on Thursday.

Meanwhile, leadership in Pyongyang continues to choke the US: it wants to block attempts by the new US administration to make contact until the conditions are met.

Blinken called North Korea’s nuclear weapons program “a source of instability, a source of danger and a clear threat to us and our partners.” But China also has a real interest in dealing with it.

Beijing has a “huge influence” on Pyongyang because of its unique relationship with North Korea, Blinken said after a “two-plus-two” meeting of the United States and South Korea’s foreign and defense ministers. “Whatever happens in the future, I hope China will use this influence effectively.”

Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled from Japan to South Korea on Wednesday as part of their first international trip as ministers. On his way back to Washington, Blinken will meet with senior Beijing officials in Alaska.

The talks in Seoul and Tokyo focused not only on strengthening bilateral alliances, but also on coordinating North Korea’s policies. The new US government is currently heading for Pyongyang. So far, it has left open whether it will apply further sanctions to induce Pyongyang to disarm or create incentives. The “review of North Korea’s policies, including examining options to exert pressure and the potential for future diplomacy,” will be completed in a few weeks in conjunction with US allies, Blinken said.

North Korea had previously confirmed that the US government had made several attempts to get in touch. North Korea’s first deputy foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, made it clear in a statement that Pyongyang would continue to refuse any contact until the US gave up its “hostile policy.” In a statement published by the state media, she accused Washington of using “cheap tricks.” The US government wants to use contact only as a means “to gain time and shape public opinion.”

Former US President Donald Trump had started talks with ruler Kim Jong-un about North Korea’s nuclear program and also met him in person. Little progress has been made on this point.

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