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(5th LD) Kerry, Chinese leaders united in pressing N. Korea toward denuclearization

2014/02/14 22:50

(ATTN: MODIFIES headline; UPDATES throughout with more comments, details; ADDS photo)

By Lee Chi-dong

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- Chinese leaders told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Friday that Beijing is ready to take further punitive steps against North Korea unless it complies with international obligations and gets serious about dialogue, according to the secretary.

Kerry also said the U.S. and China are discussing specific ideas on ways to revive the process of denuclearizing North Korea.

"Now what we are talking about is sort of the specifics of how you do that. They put some ideas on the table and we put some ideas on the table," the secretary said at a press conference at his hotel here.

On the first day of his trip to Beijing, the first in 10 months, Kerry had an array of meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Kequiang, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Feb. 14.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Feb. 14.

In particular, the Kerry-Wang talks lasted two hours, much longer than planned. They also had a working lunch.

Kerry did not reveal details of Beijing's offers, saying he has yet to report them to President Barack Obama.

Washington will take those under advisement and continue a related dialogue with China "in the days ahead," he said.

The U.S. will deal with issues on North Korea "with a great sense of urgency of time," he added.

It remains uncertain whether the so-called G-2 will make a successful joint attempt to resume the six-party talks. The last round of the negotiations, also involving the two Koreas, Russia and Japan, were held in December 2008.

Kerry has emphasized the need for China to do more in the efforts, given its influence over the North.

Kerry said he encouraged Beijing to "use every tool at its disposal" to persuade Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table.

He added that the Chinese made it clear they would not allow a nuclear Korea and any instability in the region.

Speaking separately to the media, the Chinese foreign minister also said his country will never sit idle, as it does not want "chaos or war" on the peninsula.

"China is serious on this, as shown not only in our words but in our actions," Wang was quoted as saying by Beijing's official Xinhua News Agency.

On North Korea's nuclear program, Wang called for a sustainable, irreversible and effective dialogue track.

He also asked the U.S. and other parties concerned to show flexibility and take concrete steps to create favorable conditions for the reopening of the six-way talks, according to Xinhua.

Regarding tensions over territorial claims in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, meanwhile, the secretary called for a "calmer, more rule-of-law based, less confrontational attitude."

   "All parties need to show restraint," he stressed.

Asked about reports that Beijing may expand its air defense identification zone in the East China Sea, the top U.S. diplomat said a "unilateral, unannounced, unprocessed initiative like that can be very challenging to certain people in the region, and therefore to regional stability."

   He flew to Beijing from Seoul on Friday for a two-day stay. In Seoul he secured a guarantee of close partnership between the allies regarding Pyongyang, which has been stepping up its peace offensive.

He plans to head to Jakarta, Indonesia, on Saturday.

lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com

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