China president to discuss North Korea with Obama on US visit

epa05224110 Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) speaks while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi looks on during their meeting with German President Joachim Gauck (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 21 March 2016. The German President is on a five-day state visit to China.  EPA/HOW HWEE YOUNG/POOL

Beijing / AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to discuss the deteriorating situation on the Korean peninsula with his US counterpart Barack Obama when he visits Washington for a nuclear security summit next week, a senior Beijing official said on Thursday.
North Korea’s most recent atomic test in January and a series of rocket launches are likely to be on the two leaders’ agenda when they meet on the sidelines of the summit, foreign affairs Vice Minister Li Baodong said.
“During the meeting, the two presidents will have a full exchange of views on bilateral issues… including the issue of the Korean Peninsula,” Li said.
“We believe that the issue of the Korean peninsula should be resolved through dialogue and consultation,” he added.
The two-day Nuclear Security Summit will discuss how to best secure radioactive materials, including preventing would-be terrorists from accessing them.
The summit itself will not address issues related to North Korea’s recent weapons tests, but may touch on stopping the provision of nuclear materials to the country which could be used to develop weapons.
China is one of 52 countries and international organisations participating in the conference, which was first held in Washington in 2010. This year’s meeting is the fourth in the series initiated by President Obama and has been billed as the last.
US policymakers have pushed China, North Korea’s only ally, to put pressure on the country to stop its nuclear provocations.
But Beijing is concerned about the stability of its neighbour and has resisted taking any steps that could potentially weaken its ailing economy. North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a solid-fuel rocket Thursday, the latest in a series of weapons tests.
Tensions have been soaring on the divided Korean peninsula since the North carried out its fourth nuclear test on January 6, followed a month later by a long-range rocket launch that was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.
Xi is scheduled to visit the Czech Republic on his way to Washington.

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