Nuclear-armed North Korea poses an “overt threat, a declared threat to the world”, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Beijing today after talks with his Chinese counterpart following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test earlier this month.
“The United States will do what is necessary to protect our country and our friends and allies in the world,” Kerry added at a joint press conference with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi.
A US official said earlier the issue would be at the top of Kerry’s agenda in his talks with Wang, adding: “The Secretary has made no secret… of his conviction that there is much more that China can do by way of applying leverage (on Pyongyang).”
China is North Korea’s chief diplomatic protector and economic benefactor, but those ties have become strained in recent years as Beijing’s patience wears thin with Pyongyang’s unwillingness to rein in its nuclear weapons ambitions.
After the latest test on January 6 – which Pyongyang said was a miniaturised hydrogen bomb, a claim largely dismissed by experts – China said it “firmly opposes” the North’s actions and summoned its diplomats for “solemn representations”.