U.S. President Barack Obama met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Both leaders are in New York for the annual event.
The informal talks were another positive step in US-China relations. After the recent event of North Korea completing its fifth nuclear test, the topic was probably discussed by the two leaders.
Stepping Up Cooperation
The White House released a statement saying that the two leaders had met. As well as that, they agreed to cooperate more in the United Nations Security Council and through law enforcement channels. The nuclear test performed by North Korea requires a response from the two global powers. So far, the response seems to be one of mutual trust and cooperation.
The United States and China are also looking at the finances of a Chinese conglomerate of companies, Liaoning Hongxiang Industrial. The Obama administration believes that Liaoning Hongxiang Industrial plays a part in helping North Korea develop its nuclear program. Progress might prove difficult on the issue, since the conglomerate is headed by a high ranking cadre of the Chinese Communist Party. But China looks committed to working together with the United States.
UN diplomats also say that the two countries are in talks about possible sanctions. There is the possibility of the UN drafting a sanctions resolution against North Korea. The resolution would be a measured response to the nuclear test performed by North Korea earlier this month. So far, China has not made any direct comments about whether or not they would support tougher steps against its neighbor.
Condemning North Korea’s Nuclear Efforts
The White House statement said that the two leaders both condemned the nuclear test that took place in North Korea on the 9th of September. It added that the two parties decided to coordinate more in order to achieve the denuclearization of the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The two countries made a commitment to cooperate more in the United Nations Security Council, said the statement.
North Korea is a country that is in diplomatic and economic isolation. China is the country’s main backer when it comes to diplomacy. Also, it’s North Korea’s biggest trading partner.
China has been angered by North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests and missile launches. So it has signed on to tougher and tougher UN sanctions on the Pyongyang regime. However, it has always stated that such measures are not an answer to the situation. Also mentioning that the UN should go back to talks with North Korea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was speaking to his Japanese counterpart the other week. Regarding unilateral sanctions for North Korea, he said that China opposes them. He called such sanctions “unhelpful”. But he did say that China is willing to work within the UN to draft a response to North Korea’s actions.
Washington has pressed China to try and do more to control North Korea. Perhaps believing that Beijing has the ability to rein in the small state. The United States remains steadfast in its position on North Korea. A willingness to negotiate would only open up if North Korea got rid of its nuclear weapons. So far, Pyongyang has refused to do that.
Image source: here.