China, United States to work together to calm down North Korea

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The U.S. Secretary of State meets with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing (CNN)

The U.S. Secretary of State meets with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing (CNN)

Beijing (CNN) — Following a day of talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese leaders said their two nations would work together to press North Korea to tone down its provocations, amid soaring regional tensions.

Speaking to reporters in Beijing, Kerry said both the United States and China are calling on North Korea to refrain from any provocative steps — including any missile launches.

But, he said, both nations want to focus on a peaceful solution, not “threat for threat or confrontational language. There’s been enough of that.”

No option was left off the table in his talks with Chinese leaders, he said. Among those he met with Saturday were Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor Yang.

Kerry said there was no question that China was very serious about upholding international standards.

As he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Kerry said, “Mr. president, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issues — issues on the Korean peninsula, the challenge of Iran and nuclear weapons, Syria and the Middle East, and economies around the world that are in need of a boost.”

In a joint statement before dinner, Kerry and Yang reaffirmed their intention to work together toward the peaceful denuclearization of North Korea.

“We agreed that this is critically important for the stability of the region and indeed for the world and for all our nonproliferation efforts,” said Kerry.

“We are committed to taking actions in order to make good on that goal and we are committed to make that goal a reality.”

China’s position is “consistent and clear cut,” Yang said. “China is firmly committed to upholding peace and stability and advancing the denuclearization process on the peninsula.”

Beijing will work with its international partners to help restart the stalled six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program and hold it accountable to its international agreements, he said.

‘Mutual respect’

Meeting earlier with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Kerry said there were “enormously challenging issues” in front of the two nations.

“I look forward to having that conversation with you today … (to) define for both of us what the model relationship should be and how two great powers, China and the United States, can work effectively to solve problems,” he said.

Wang said he hoped the two nations could work together to handle sensitive issues with “mutual respect.”

Kerry landed in Beijing after leaving Seoul, South Korea, where he pledged unbending U.S. military support against any attack from the North.

Washington wants Beijing to “stop the money trail into North Korea” and give Pyongyang a strong message that China wants the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, two U.S. administration officials said.

U.S. officials said China has recently expressed frustrations over Pyongyang’s actions.

“We hear a growing tone of frustration … in official statements from the Chinese,” an administration official said. “China is increasingly concerned about the downstream effects of North Korea’s reckless pursuit of a nuclear missile capability and complications for China’s foreign strategic environment.”

Kerry will seek to define the areas of common interest with China.

“We have a common interest in putting an end to North Korean proliferation,” a senior administration official said. “In stopping the highly destabilizing behavior and the provocative actions of the North Koreans.”

Kerry is also expected to address computer hacking coming from state-sponsored sources inside China.

Read more at CNN.com.