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US, China agree on ‘nuclear-free Korea' push

AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry and China's foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi said Saturday that both countries are committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a "peaceful manner" following talks in Beijing.

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China and the United States pledged on Saturday to work together to push for the peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula following the increasingly bellicose rhetoric from North Korea in recent weeks which has included threats of nuclear war.

As part of his tour of Asia, which included a stop off in South Korea earlier in the week, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with China’s top leaders in Beijing with the view of securing support from North Korea’s main diplomatic supporter in encouraging Pyongyang to scale back its hostility and, eventually, return to nuclear talks.

Following talks, Kerry and China's foreign policy chief State Councillor Yang Jiechi said both countries supported the goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula.

“We are able, the United States and China, to underscore our joint commitment to the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner,” Kerry told reporters, standing next to Yang at a state guesthouse in western Beijing.

“We agreed that this is critically important for the stability of the region and indeed for the world and for all of our non-proliferation efforts.”

“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,” Yang said, speaking through an interpreter.

Pyonyang has as yet shown no signs of backing down over its nuclear programme, repeatedly saying it will not abandon nuclear weapons which it described on Friday as its “treasured” guarantor of security.

The extent of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities is a matter of debate among analysts, but the country is believed to have successfully conducted underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 while also pursuing a uranium enrichment programme.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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