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China key to restraining North Korea


rhondathompson, [email protected]

China key to restraining North Korea

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Washington – Pressure from China would be key to getting North Korea to change its behavior, the top U.S. military official said today.
“I believe that it’s really important that Beijing lead here,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an interview to air Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” He added, “I’ve believed for some time that probably the country that can influence North Korea the most is clearly China.”
China, Mullen said, has much at stake in stopping North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il from taking more provocative actions.
“It destabilises the region and China has as much to lose as anybody in that region with the continuation of this kind of behavior and what the potential might be,” he said.
The United States is hoping China, which North Korea relies on for economic support and trade, will exercise that influence.
President Barack Obama will call President Hu Jintao of China in the next few days to discuss North Korea, administration officials told CNN.
“China is pivotal to moving North Korea in a fundamentally different direction,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said yesterday. “We would hope and expect that China would use that influence, first, to reduce tensions that have arisen from North Korean provocations, and then, secondly, [to] continue to encourage North Korea to take affirmative steps to denuclearize.”
The United States had “multiple conversations” with Chinese officials both in Beijing and in Washington in the initial day after the exchange of fire between North and South Korea yesterday, Crowley said.
For its part, China suggested today it was ready to work with other countries to maintain stability in the region.
“We are ready to make joint efforts,” a Chinese ministry spokesman said in a written statement.
While not condemning North Korea’s actions, China maintained its position of promoting talks with Pyongyang. (CNN)

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