Blinken holds talks with Chinese counterpart in Alaska

Secretary of State says China could play crucial role in DPRK denuclearization

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are holding talks Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska. This is the first bilateral meeting between Chinese and U.S. officials since June.

Ahead of the meeting, Blinken expressed that China shares an interest in ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

“China can play a crucial role in efforts to persuade North Korea to denuclearize,” Blinken said. – Virtually all of North Korea’s economic and trade relations are with or through China, so it has enormous influence.”

President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to announce an official North Korea policy soon, which, according to Blinken, will involve both South Korea and Japan.

On Thursday, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with South Korean counterparts Jung Eui-young and Seo Wook. The central theme of the talks was threats from the DPRK.

“We are committed to denuclearizing North Korea, reducing the threat the DPRK poses to the United States and our allies, and improving the lives of all Koreans, including the people of North Korea, who continue to suffer extensive and systematic abuse,” Blinken said during the press conference.

Some 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. The two countries signed a spending agreement this week to deploy those forces, a source of friction between Seoul and Washington in the final years of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Austin emphasized the strength of the alliance between the United States and South Korea. “The United States remains fully committed to protecting the Republic of Korea and intends to use the full range of capabilities, including our enhanced deterrence,” he said.

Washington says it has tried to engage in dialogue with North Korea through its mission to the United Nations in New York and other channels, but has received no response.

The Korean Central Telegraph Agency (CTAC) on Thursday quoted DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Cho Song-hee as saying that Pyongyang has no intention of responding to Washington’s initiatives.

“No contact and dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. is possible unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy toward the DPRK,” she stressed. – In order for dialogue to take place, an atmosphere must be created in which both sides can communicate on an equal basis.”

The diplomat also condemned the recent U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises and the remarks made by Blinken in Tokyo. The secretary of state said Washington is considering new “pressure measures” against Pyongyang.

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