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Obama, Xi reaffirms commitment to nuclear-free Korean Peninsula in last summit

2016/11/21 07:09

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula as they held their last meeting on the sidelines of a regional summit, the White House said.

The bilateral meeting took place in Lima, Peru, on the margins of the annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum Saturday. It was Obama's last meeting with Xi before he leaves office in January.

"The two presidents addressed the threat presented by North Korea's efforts to advance its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile systems, and affirmed their firm commitment to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the White House said in a statement.

"Both leaders committed to intensify cooperation in achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, including through full implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270 and other relevant Security Council resolutions," it said.

At the start of the meeting, Obama also said that the two countries "are united on our strong opposition to North Korea's provocations, and we will intensify our efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula."

   China is North Korea's last-remaining major ally, and a key provider of food and fuel supplies. But it has been reluctant to use its influence over Pyongyang for fears that pushing the regime too hard could result in instability in the North and hurt Chinese national interests.

Analysts say that China increases pressure on the North, especially when Pyongyang defied international appeals and carried out nuclear tests and other provocative acts, but China never went as far as to cause real pain to the North.

The U.S. and China have been in talks on a set of new sanctions aimed at punishing the North for its fifth nuclear test in September but have not been able to reach agreement due mainly to Beijing's unwillingness to endorse tough measures.