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North Korea, Climate Change Top Agenda For Kerry, China's Leaders

Published on 15 February 2014

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by Office of the Spokesperson


Washington, D.C.

Secretary of State John Kerry met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese officials during a visit to Beijing on February 14 and received a commitment from China to help convince North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament talks.

Kerry also emphasized the Obama administration’s commitment to refocusing U.S. foreign policy on the Asia-Pacific region. During Kerry’s talks with Xi and other officials, they discussed climate change, human rights and the rule of law, Syria’s civil war, and efforts to reduce tensions with Iran over its nuclear development program.

“Our partnership with China we view as one of great potential. It is one that is continuing to be defined, and we are convinced that [in] both regional and global challenges that we face, China and the United States, when they can act together in concert with common purpose, have the opportunity to be able to make a significant difference,” Kerry said at a press conference after his talks with Chinese leaders.

Kerry thanked China for supporting the U.S. call for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons development program and resume the six-party disarmament talks that include China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

North Korea must make meaningful, concrete and irreversible steps toward ending its nuclear weapons program and it needs to begin now, Kerry told journalists. “China could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment to that goal, its interests in achieving that goal, and its concerns about the risks of not achieving that goal,” he said.

“China could not have been more emphatic or made it more clear that they will not allow a nuclear program over the long run, that they believe deeply in denuclearization, and that denuclearization must occur, that they are committed to doing their part to help make it happen, and that they also will not allow instability and war to break out in the region,” Kerry said.

Chinese leaders believe this has to be done in political negotiation and through diplomacy, he added.

Chinese leaders and Kerry also discussed climate change and clean energy cooperation. While both nations are large emitters of carbon pollution, Kerry said, it is urgent that they join together to respond to the growing problem. It is imperative, the secretary said, for China and the United States to work together to ensure an ambitious international climate change agreement is signed at the United Nations’ climate summit in December 2015 in Paris.

“In addition, today, we spoke about our shared interest in preventing Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Kerry told journalists. He added that they agreed on the importance of continued negotiations being held by Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States with the help of the European Union.

Kerry and Chinese leaders also discussed human rights challenges and the role of the rule of law and the free flow of information in “a robust civil society.” The secretary said they also discussed issues involving the South China Sea and the importance of cooperation in a peaceful, nonconfrontational way that respects international maritime law.

On Syria, Kerry said they discussed the importance of China’s support in U.N. Security Council efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis.

Kerry was in Beijing on the second stop of his fifth trip to Asia in the past year. His first stop was in Seoul for extensive talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

Following his visit to Beijing, Kerry will travel to Jakarta for talks with officials at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations headquarters and with Indonesian officials. While in Jakarta, Kerry will deliver an address on climate change.

The White House announced that President Obama will visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines in April.


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Posted 2014-02-15 10:36:00