The top US diplomat said Beijing is in a “unique position” to influence the DPRK
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he called on China to help push North Korea to end its “dangerous behavior” and engage with Washington during his visit to the People’s Republic this week.
Addressing reporters after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier on Monday, Blinken said he had “robust” discussions with officials during his two-day trip to Beijing, including about North Korea’s “increasingly reckless actions and rhetoric.”
“All members of the international community have an interest in encouraging the DPRK to act responsibly, to stop launching missiles, to start engaging on its nuclear program,” he said at the US Embassy in Beijing, adding “China is in a unique position to press Pyongyang to engage in dialogue and to end its dangerous behavior.”
While Blinken did not elaborate on what he hoped Beijing could accomplish with respect to North Korea, US officials have previously suggested that China has the ability to influence Pyongyang’s policies. Following his first face-to-face sit-down with Xi last year, President Joe Biden argued the People’s Republic had an “obligation” to dissuade its neighbor from future nuclear trials, warning that Washington would take “defensive” action in the event of another test.
South Korea has made similar statements, with President Yoon Suk-yeol also stating last year that “China has the capability to influence North Korea” and a “responsibility to engage in the process.” He claimed the denuclearization of the DPRK would be in Beijing’s own interest, echoing Washington’s long-held position.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have soared over the last year, with US forces launching a flurry of joint military drills with Seoul, which Pyongyang has denounced as rehearsal for an invasion. The DPRK has responded with several weapons tests – the number of which hit record levels last year – and insists it has the right to develop its military without interference from the US, including its nuclear arsenal.
While the US and its regional allies have blamed North Korea for the recent spike in hostilities, Chinese officials have frequently criticized American wargames held on the Korean Peninsula, saying the exercises only serve to inflame the situation and provoke increasingly harsh reactions from Pyongyang.
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