Clinton Appeals To China To Calm Korea Tensions
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
MICHELE KELEMEN: Secretary of State Clinton called it a landmark meeting. She consulted with her counterparts from Japan and South Korea. And they came out with a firm and united message to Pyongyang.
INSKEEP: We all agree that North Korea's provocative and belligerent behavior jeopardizes peace and stability in Asia.
KELEMEN: Though she didn't invite China to the meeting - which included only treaty allies - she did have a message for Beijing.
INSKEEP: They have a unique relationship with North Korea, and we would hope that China would work with us to send a clear, unmistakable message to North Korea that they have to demonstrate a seriousness of purpose in ending their provocative actions, and there are many ways that they can do that.
KELEMEN: This is the case the U.S. has made to China for the past decade, according to Victor Cha, a former White House advisor on Asia, now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He says the U.S. has been frustrated and Japan and South Korea share those frustrations.
KELEMEN: There's a feeling among all three countries that China, going back to the sinking of the Cheonan, the South Korean naval vessel, last March, followed by the shelling of the island in South Korea, China really has not been carrying its weight in using its leverage to push the North Koreans to behave more responsibly.
KELEMEN: And he says North Korea policy is widely known in Washington as the land of lousy options. Military action could be most effective, he argues, but warns that could quickly lead to a full scale war, which no one wants.
KELEMEN: So you're left with these less than desirable options, including negotiations, sanctions, and relying on China to try to carry a lot of our water.
KELEMEN: That thought was echoed by her Japanese counterpart, Seiji Maehara, who spoke through an interpreter.
KELEMEN: (Through translator) We demand North Korea to sincerely act in accordance with the commitment they made for the denuclearization of the peninsula.
KELEMEN: Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department.
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