News / USA

    Kerry to China: US 'Will Protect Allies' in Face of North Korean Threat

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi approach to shake hands after attending a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Jan. 27, 2016.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi approach to shake hands after attending a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Jan. 27, 2016.
    Pamela Dockins

    The United States and China agreed Wednesday to work together to ensure that North Korea ends its nuclear-weapons program, but high-level talks in Beijing indicated the two sides disagree on whether and what sort of sanctions to use against Pyongyang following its underground nuclear test three weeks ago.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, meeting with China's foreign minister in Beijing, stressed the North Korean issue is a high priority for Washington.

    “The United States will take all necessary steps to protect our people and allies,” Kerry said at a news conference after his talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

    Kerry and Wang Yi met for more than five hours Wednesday - much longer than scheduled. Wang said China supports a new U.N. resolution opposing Pyongyang’s nuclear program, and will discuss possible sanctions. However, he added, any international action against the North should not provoke new tensions.

    Kerry called for strong and united U.N. action against North Korea's nuclear tests, and noted, "this is a threat the United States must take extremely seriously."

    He noted that Iran, which does not have nuclear weapons, has been the target of more sanctions than North Korea has been, despite its defiance of international condemnation of its nuclear activities.
    “We don’t want to heighten security tensions,” Kerry said, "but we won't talk away from any options." He apparently was referring to possible deployment of a missile-defense system in South Korea. The South's president, Park Geun-hye, said after North Korea's nuclear test three weeks ago that she would consider accepting the U.S. defense system.
    WATCH: Kerry Meets with Xi in Beijing

    Kerry Meets with Xi in Beijingi
    January 27, 2016 2:06 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Jan. 27, 2015.

    Meeting with Xi

    After his firm talk about North Korea and sanctions, Kerry met later Wednesday with President Xi Jinping, who spoke warmly about his visit to the United States last year.

    Speaking through an interpreter in the Great Hall of the People, the Chinese president said: "Generally speaking, when China and the United States work together we can make good things happen ... for both sides, and that contributes to peace, prosperity and stability in the world."

    "The Chinese side is prepared to work with the U.S. side" on many issues, Xi said, "and I am prepared to work with President [Barack] Obama to make efforts to advance a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States, based on no conflict and no confrontation, 'win-win' cooperation and mutual respect.“

    Kerry left China later for a return flight to the United States, heading for Washington via a refueling stop in Alaska.

    FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
    FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

    China-North Korea relationship

    On the question of China's relationship with North Korea, analysts say Beijing sometimes appears hesitant to impose additional penalties on Pyongyang, because of the two countries' competing interests.
    "For China, the challenge is balancing the need to punish North Korea with their concerns about stability in North Korea. So, they want to push but they don't want to push too hard," said Scott Snyder, a Korean studies analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations.
    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who traveled to Asia ahead of Kerry, has been discussing the North Korean situation with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.
    Blinken said they stand firmly united "in strongly condemning this test, and in our determination, to impose costs for the DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) flaunting of its international obligations."

    FILE - This photo released by the Military Information Agency in Taiwan shows two Taiwanese warships docking near the shore of Taiping Island, the largest of the disputed Spratly Island chain, with the Taiping military base in the foreground.
    FILE - This photo released by the Military Information Agency in Taiwan shows two Taiwanese warships docking near the shore of Taiping Island, the largest of the disputed Spratly Island chain, with the Taiping military base in the foreground.

    South China Sea

    In addition to North Korea, Kerry and Wang said they also discussed the thorny issue of competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. Regional tensions have flared recently over the overlapping claims of China and its Asia-Pacific neighbors, including Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. The latest incident to aggravate the dispute came when China tested a runway on one of its artificial islands in the sea - structures Chinese crews created by dredging enough material onto tidal reefs to erect permanent structures.
    Kerry flew to Beijing Tuesday from Cambodia, where he held meetings on human rights issues and bilateral trade possibilities. He also visited Laos earlier this week.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 27, 2016 9:20 PM
    The US Navy is prepared to vaporize North Korea on a moments notice. On orders from the President, the job wouldn't take more than ten or fifteen minutes. The Trident II D5s with 8 W88 warheads each packing a punch of 475 kilotons per warhead (31 times Hiroshima) are not far off and ready to launch anytime.

    by: Davideo from: Woburn MA
    January 27, 2016 5:46 PM
    Not that we should have ever been in Vietnam in the first place, cleaning up yet again another abandoned French mishap, the Vietnamese have always been the most courteous and hard-working people I have ever met. It stands to reason that Laotians and Cambodians will be every bit as outstanding citizens. I welcome them with open arms. I do NOT, however, welcome these Muslim terrorists and Mexican drug dealers. Trump makes sense - 2016.

    by: dbatim
    January 27, 2016 5:41 PM
    What a 'crock'!
    Are we going to protect our allies like we did Israel against Iran? Or the Saudis against Iran?
    We actually embraced our enemies and spit on our friends with this presidency.
    Because of this we are losing the "Petro-dollar" for those that don't know, the Petro-dollar is one of the main reasons the dollar is the worlds reserve currency. Look it up. Once we lose that ability it means all the 'dollars' held in foreign banks to buy oil will come flooding back to the U.S. and our 'endless dollar' printing will come back as inflation. Don't believe a word Kerry says...

    by: Sensi
    January 27, 2016 5:36 PM
    I just love the voluntarily misleading headline, made to appear like a threat between two opposing sides... Kerry told that not to "China" but to the press, as reported in the article.

    Also funny to read the usual drivels from the previous comments, with people running amok over disputed man made islands in the middle of nowhere, reading a press which NEVER remind them that the other contestants have built military installations and airstrips on similarly contested islands in the region, they don't see any issue until that China catch up: the US/West propaganda seems working on indoctrinated tools.

    by: Fred from: USA
    January 27, 2016 5:29 PM
    China doesn't want to push too hard because North Korea imports a lot of goods from them. "Competing interest" is very vague, why not call it what it is? NK wants everyone else to think they are only doing what is necessary to defend their country from invasion, which is a real threat from several interested outside governments. Our propaganda would have us believe that the NK government is some barbaric organization that kidnaps, tortures and murders their own people whilst NK's propaganda suggest their people are proud people that just want to be left alone. It's hard to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt when a communist country chooses to keep so many secrets and our own government includes so many crooks and liars.

    by: ar000n from: Boston
    January 27, 2016 11:54 AM
    Who are we f00ling Mr. Secretary? Chinese are known for their deceiving tactics.. Today they support on a weak statement from UN.. When it comes to sanctions and other resolutions they Veto..
    In Response

    by: wshaw14 from: USA
    January 27, 2016 10:06 PM
    Simple solution. Suggest that if the situation continues we will arm Japan with nukes. That will get China's' attention.
    In Response

    by: Davideo from: Woburn Ma
    January 27, 2016 5:57 PM
    Well, I have to agree. Kerry is lip service, at best. This is just one example of what will instantly be disposed of when the Obama hacks are finally ejected.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 27, 2016 5:38 PM
    Hollow words... No US ally (even if they are insane) will ever attack North Korea with their defensive nuclear weapons poised to eliminate their armies, nor will the US and South Korea attack the defensive nuclear weapon possessing North Koreans, and the only countries trying to rid the North Koreans of their defensive nuclear weapons are the US, South Korea and the little island of the rising sun? .. Why? .. North Korea's nuclear weapons are for defensive purposes only, and a retaliatory threat to those that would attack them? .. That's why China and Russia doesn't really care about the North Korean nuclear weapons? .. they're not going to attack them?
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 27, 2016 5:35 PM
    Taiwan is a part of China.

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    January 27, 2016 11:29 AM
    These disputed islands are 5 times as far from China as from the Philippines. They are surrounded by Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Nothing gives China the expectation that they can claim sovereignty over them except that they moved in first. They will probably all be underwater soon anyway.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 27, 2016 9:31 PM
    the small countries are near to China too,

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 27, 2016 9:07 AM
    One thing has become noticeably clear, the Chinese "nine dash line" is for real, and the Obama "redlines" aren't? .. and if Kerry doesn't speak the Chinese, the Laotian and the Cambodian language, he'll never really know what they're saying about him and the US, unless he has a trustworthy US interpreter with him? .. The Laotians and Cambodians will nod their heads in agreement with whatever Kerry says, and hold out their hands for US taxpayer money and weapons, while laughing behind Kerry's back? .. There was a time when countries really listened to what the US said, in days long past?

    by: gabi
    January 27, 2016 6:02 AM
    Hollywood: entertainment and magnificence! You can get the special “Success and Hollywood” bonus: $ 3 million! You want to be free from worries about money! Everything that you do counts in some way! Nothing is neutral!

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