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Asia-pacific

Washington urges China to press North Korea

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-07-22

The US will ask China to "take additional steps" to press North Korea over its nuclear and military programmes during a regional summit on Thursday at which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet her Chinese counterpart.

AFP - The United States called Wednesday for China to look at additional steps to pressure North Korea as it urged nations to follow its lead in imposing new sanctions.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced the new measures against Pyongyang during a visit to South Korea, plans to meet with China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Thursday during a regional meeting in Vietnam.

"We will be consulting with China (on) what we think (are) additional steps that it can take," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

"The secretary will have a chance to explain to Foreign Minister Yang what we have in mind here and the way forward not only on issues related to North Korea but also issues related to Iran," Crowley said.

Crowley praised China's response to North Korea, saying that it has "aggressively implemented" last year's Security Council resolutions that tightened sanctions aimed at Pyongyang's military program.

But a number of US lawmakers and pundits have accused China of going easy on North Korea as it finds the status quo to be in its best interest. Pyongyang counts on China as its primary political and economic supporter.

Crowley said that Robert Einhorn, the US envoy on nonproliferation, would travel in early August to encourage enhancing enforcement of North Korea sanctions.

"We would like to see other countries also take the same kinds of national steps that we've announced," Crowley said.

"We hope (greater sanctions) have an impact on the core leadership which will, I think, change their calculations about how they engage with the United States and other countries," he said.

Crowley said the countries on Einhorn's trip would be specified later.

The United States and a number of other nations, particularly Japan, already impose a range of tough sanctions on North Korea.

Clinton said in Seoul that the United States would impose new sanctions that would single out the elite, including by targeting luxury items such as cigarettes, liquor and exotic foods.

Crowley said that the United States would be more specific on the new sanctions in around two weeks.

"There are just some legal steps that have to be done, in terms of the finalization and publication of the specific designations that are on our list," Crowley said.

"These measures are not directed at the people of North Korea, who have suffered too long, they are directed at the DPRK's destabilizing, illicit and provocative actions," he said, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"If and when North Korea abides by its international obligations, the need for sanctions would be eliminated," he said.

Date created : 2010-07-21

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