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Obama to Discuss North Korea Nuclear Issue with Asian Leaders

FILE - A South Korean army soldier walks by a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with superimposed letters that read: "North Korea's nuclear warhead" during a news program at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 9, 2016.

President Barack Obama will hold talks with his counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea in Washington this week to discuss North Korea's growing combativeness over its nuclear program.

Obama will hold three-way talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye Thursday on the sidelines of a global nuclear security summit, plus a separate discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korea's chief diplomatic and economic patron.

North Korea has boasted of progress in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, including claims of a successful test of a solid-fuel rocket and an atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missile. The boasts are apparently in response to a new, stronger round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations over Pyongyang's recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and the annual joint U.S.-South Korea military drill currently underway.

The United States, China and South Korea, along with Russia, Japan and North Korea, are members of the six-party talk aimed at curbing Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. The talks broke down in 2008.