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U.S. Believes China is Using Back Channel to Stop North Korea

A ballistic rocket is test-fired through a precision control guidance system in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday.KCNA via Reuters

A ballistic rocket is test-fired through a precision control guidance system in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday. KCNA via Reuters

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday the Trump administration believes China is using “back channel networking” with North Korea to try and get Kim Jong Un to stop nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

“We believe they are being productive,” she told reporters. “We do think they’re trying to counter what is happening now.”

Haley said China knows North Korea best “and so we’re going to keep the pressure on China, but we’re going to continue to work with them in any way that they think is best.”

At the same time, Haley said, the United States and China are discussing the timing of a new Security Council resolution that would toughen sanctions against North Korea in response to its latest ballistic missile launches. The latest launch on Monday was the third in three weeks.

Beijing is North Korea’s traditional ally and accounts for up to 90 percent of the isolated nation’s external trade, giving it considerable economic leverage. But there are limits to China’s influence and its willingness to use it.

North Korea has advanced its nuclear weapons program over Chinese objections. Notwithstanding U.S. calls for China to turn the screw, Beijing remains reluctant to impose biting economic pressure as it fears a North Korean collapse that would lead to instability on China’s doorstep.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, made clear last week that Beijing’s top priority is to restart talks with North Korea following its multiple tests to try to reduce tensions rather than impose new sanctions. He stressed that all progress with Pyongyang on eliminating nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula has come through dialogue.

Haley said Washington and Beijing are trying to decide the best way to approach North Korea.

“I don’t think it’s backpedaling as much as nothing is changing North Korea’s actions,” she said. “If this is going to happen every other day, how should we respond in a way that we actually stop these things, or slow it down?”

“I think we’re having those conversations this week, and I hope that we can come up with a final solution,” Haley added … (read more)

via The Japan News

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