U.S., China United in Seeking Diplomatic Solution on North Korea

By Jane Morse
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - The United States and China remain united in seeking a diplomatic solution to North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, says Ambassador Christopher Hill, the top U.S. negotiator for the Six-Party Talks, which are aimed at eliminating nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Hill is in Beijing for bilateral talks with his Chinese government counterparts.  Speaking with reporters September 6, Hill said:  “China remains very focused on how to get the diplomacy working again.”

September 19 will mark one year since North Korea agreed to take steps to end its nuclear weapons programs after a series of arduous talks hosted by China in Beijing.  (See related article.)

But North Korea since has refused to live up to its agreement and refuses to return to the Six-Party negotiating table with South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States.

“[O]ne of the real benefits of the Six-Party process,” Hill said, “is how it has brought the U.S. and China more closely together.  We’ve really appreciated the work China has done, especially the work in organizing the process and getting everyone to the table.”

Hill was in Tokyo September 4-6 for bilateral talks, where he discussed the Proliferation Security Initiative as a way to deal with Pyongyang’s recalcitrance. 

In both Tokyo and Beijing, Hill said, he discussed U.N. Security Council Resolution 1695.  The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted the resolution – its first on North Korea since 1993 - just 11 days after North Korea test-fired on July 5 several missiles capable of reaching Japan and, possibly, Alaska in the United States. (See related article.)

The resolution demands North Korea suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program, requires U.N. member states to refrain from trading with North Korea on missile-related goods and technology, and urges North Korea to return immediately and without preconditions to the Six-Party Talks with South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States.  (See related article.)

While in Tokyo, Hill emphasized that “it’s very important it [Resolution 1695] be followed up by concrete action that it calls all its member states to take.”

While in China, Hill plans to visit Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai.  The assistant secretary also is scheduled to visit Seoul, South Korea, before returning to Washington.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will be traveling to the United States to meet with President Bush at the White House September 14.  The Six-Party Talks are among the many topics they are expected to discuss.  (See related article.)

For additional information, see The U.S. and the Korean Peninsula and The Proliferation Security Initiative.

See also "Bush, Roh Emphasize Unified Stance on North Korea.”