China’s top diplomat agreed Saturday that nuclear weapons must be removed from the Korean peninsula amid the North’s heightened rhetoric with its missile and nuclear testing.
During a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Beijing; China expressed support in negotiating with the isolate, ignorant starving totalitarian nation to stabilize the region Fox News is reporting.
Kerry’s visit to Beijing comes a day after he participated in talks with South Korean officials in Seoul during which he warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un not to test fire a missile.
The Chinese have dramatically boosted trade ties with their neighbors and maintain close military relations some six decades after they fought side by side in the Korean War. They provide the North with most of its fuel and much of its food aid.
China’s greatest fear is the implosion of North Korea’s impoverished state and the resulting chaos that could cause, including possibly millions of refugees fleeing across the border into China.
For that reason, China has in many ways looked past North Korea’s bellicose rhetoric and activity, prioritizing the security of Kim’s regime — like his father’s and grandfather’s previously — over nuclear proliferation concerns.
U.S. officials say they’ve gone to great lengths to explain to China that the American objective in North Korea — at least in the short term — is not regime change.
While the U.S. abhors the North’s human rights record, its regular provocations and military links with other international pariahs such as Iran, it has stressed over years of conversations with Beijing that pushing for North Korean denuclearization could reinforce stability.
Obama administration officials on Friday scrambled to downplay the errant disclosure of a classified portion of an intelligence report finding that North Korea has advanced its nuclear knowledge to the point that it could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead.
The analysis, disclosed Thursday at a hearing on Capitol Hill, says the Pentagon’s intelligence wing has “moderate confidence” that North Korea has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles but that the weapon was unreliable.