Blinken presses China on North Korea denuclearization

Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressed China on Thursday to use its influence with North Korea to push Pyongyang toward denuclearization. 

“Beijing has an interest, a clear self-interest in helping to pursue denuclearization of [North Korea] because it is a source of instability,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Seoul, The Associated Press reported.

“It is a source of danger and obviously a threat to us and our partners,” he added.

Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have flared, with Pyongyang saying it will not resume negotiations with Washington and the head of U.S. Northern Command telling Congress that North Korea may begin testing an improved intercontinental ballistic missile soon.

“What has been heard from the U.S. since the emergence of the new regime is only a lunatic theory of ‘threat from North Korea’ and groundless rhetoric about ‘complete denuclearization,’” Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister, said on Thursday.

After a meeting in South Korea, Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean foreign ministers released a statement saying “a priority for the alliance” is addressing North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. 

Blinken’s comments come ahead of his meeting with Chinese officials in Alaska on Thursday. The meeting will be the first face-to-face meeting between Biden administration and Chinese officials.

The secretary of State described the meeting with China as a “one-off” meeting. Chinese officials are expected to push the U.S. to lift Trump-era policies and sanctions, while Biden administration officials will stress human rights and economic issues.

–Updated at 9:02 a.m.

Tags Antony Blinken China Denuclearization of North Korea Lloyd Austin North Korea

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