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Clinton Presses China for Stronger Action on North Korea

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is pressing China for stronger action on North Korea.

Secretary Clinton said the Chinese understand the gravity of the situation on the Korean peninsula, where tensions have risen sharply following the March 26 torpedo attack that sank a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors.

"No one is more concerned about peace and stability in this region as the Chinese," Clinton stated. "We know this is a shared responsibility and in the days ahead we will work with the international community and our Chinese colleagues to fashion an effective and appropriate response."

Speaking alongside senior Chinese officials at the end of two days of talks, she said the two superpowers would be working together to resolve the matter.

The U.S. has expressed strong support for the South Korean president and his intention to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council, where  the United States and China are veto-wielding members.  But China, Pyongyang's main patron, has not publicly condemned the attack or even acknowledged that North Korea was to blame.

In remarks at the end of the Beijing talks, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo said ensuring peace and security on the Korean peninsula is "critical" and urged the parties to "calmly and properly handle the issue and avoid escalation of tension."

Speaking to reporters later, Secretary Clinton said "it is absolutely clear" that China is committed to regional stability, and it shares the U.S. goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula.  But she added that "a period of careful consideration" is necessary in order to determine the best way forward in dealing with North Korea, perhaps a sign that China is not yet ready to support U.N. Security Council action.   

On the final leg of her Asian tour, Clinton will travel to Seoul on Wednesday to consult with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.  She said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would go there on Friday for the same purpose.

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