Kerry heads to East Asia, seeks China's help on DPRK

2013-04-12 00:10:04 GMT2013-04-12 08:10:04(Beijing Time)

John Kerry had been secretary of state for little more than a week when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea tested a nuclear bomb.

He gathered top aides together for a morning meeting and asked for ideas, prompting a conversation about how to get China to join the United States in putting pressure on Pyongyang, according to a senior administration official who was present.

The DPRK's government agency said Thursday that it has "powerful striking means" on standby for a launch, amid speculation in Seoul and Washington that Pyongyang will test-fire a mid-range missile designed to reach the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. It was the latest warning from the North, which launched a long-range rocket in December and conducted an underground nuclear test in February.

"If anyone has real leverage over the North Koreans, it is China," U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress Thursday. "And the indications that we have are that China is itself rather frustrated with the behavior and the belligerent rhetoric of ... Kim Jong Un."

Kerry, the official added, stressed the need to "change the dynamic in the North Korea, and he emphasized the importance of continuing to put pressure on North Korea with economic sanctions." The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the closed-doors meeting and demanded anonymity.

Kerry and the other foreign ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations "condemned in the strongest possible terms" Thursday the North's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.


Editor: Mei Jingya
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