US top diplomat in China

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met China’s President Xi Jinping, in a visit expected to focus on North Korea and regional territorial tensions.

US top diplomat in China amid North Korea, territorial tensions

US Secretary of State John Kerry has met China’s President Xi Jinping, in a visit expected to focus on North Korea and regional territorial tensions.

Mr Kerry told reporters that his meeting with Mr Xi in the capital, Beijing, “was a very constructive one”.

His regional tour began in South Korea on Thursday, where he touched on China’s critical role in curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

He is also to visit Jakarta as part of Washington’s so-called “pivot to Asia”.

The meeting with Mr Xi was “very positive and I am glad we had an opportunity to dig into the detail of some of the North Korea challenges”, Mr Kerry told reporters after the meeting at the Great Hall of the People.

In South Korea, Mr Kerry had said the US was relying on China to exert pressure on Pyongyang to return to stalled six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear programme.

“China has a unique and critical role that it can play,” he said. “No country has a greater potential to influence North Korea’s behaviour than China, given their extensive trading relationship with the North.”

In response, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said China “has played its due role” in trying to help find a solution.

“We have, through different channels, worked on the North Korea nuclear problem through the six-party nuclear talks, and have maintained close communication with the parties,” Hua Chunying said during a regular press briefing on Friday.

‘Key interests’

Mr Kerry also met Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who called for US-China ties to “reflect the principle of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win co-operation”.

Mr Kerry did not comment on China’s disputes with neighbours in the region. But he said that the two sides were “succeeding in finding what we call big-ticket items to be constructive on”, including Syria, Afghanistan and Iran.

The top US diplomat was expected to urge his Chinese counterparts to ease simmering tensions with Japan and to scale back China’s increasingly assertive claims to territory in the South and East China seas, says the BBC’s Celia Hatton in Beijing.

Before leaving Washington for his regional tour, Mr Kerry warned that the US “neither recognises nor accepts” China’s newly-declared air defence identification zone over the East China Sea – which includes islands controlled by Japan.

Chinese state-run media, however, said on Friday that the US must “press Japan to call off its provocative moves” or risk future regional conflict.

“The United States has to know that, while Beijing has always been trying to address territorial brawls with some neighbouring countries through peaceful means, it will not hesitate to take steps to secure its key national security interests according to China’s sovereign rights,” Xinhua news agency said in an editorial.

Source: BBC.

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