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US, China commit to work towards nuclear-free Korean peninsula

Washington, Apr. 14 (ANI): The United States and China have committed to a process aimed at ridding North Korea of its nuclear weapons.

According to a Fox News report, the question now is whether Beijing will make good on its pledge to uphold “peace and stability” and work with Washington on achieving the goal of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

The declaration from US Secretary of State John Kerry and State Councilor Yang Jiechi came amidst North Korea’s claims of readying a missile test, causing grave concern for the US and its two close allies, South Korea and Japan.

The North Korean nuclear standoff has only grown worse in recent months under its young leader Kim Jong Un. Since testing an atomic device in February, the North has threatened new tests of its missile capacity and even talked about launching nuclear strikes against the US, while expanding its U.N.-outlawed uranium and plutonium enrichment program.

Kerry said US Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and representatives from US intelligence agencies would travel to Beijing later this month.

Yang said the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue, adding that China would work with the US and other nations to resume six-party talks with North Korea that fell apart for good four years ago.

China has the greatest leverage over North Korea, a country that like few in the world actually cherishes its isolation. China has dramatically boosted trade ties with their neighbours and maintain close military relations. They provide North Korea with most of its fuel and much of its food aid.

And China has a history of quickly reversing course after talking tougher with North Korea. In late 2010, as American officials were praising Beijing for constructive efforts after the North shelled a South Korean island, a Chinese company agreed to invest 2 billion dollars in a North Korean industrial zone.

China’s greatest fear is the implosion of North Korea’s impoverished state and the resulting chaos that could cause, including possibly millions of refugees fleeing across the border into China. For that reason, China has in many ways looked past North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric and activity.

China also remains deeply wary of any American military buildup in its backyard. Chinese officials are suspicious that the containment effort toward North Korea may be part of the long-term US strategy to expand its influence in the region and even ring in fast-growing China with countries closer to Washington. (ANI)