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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Unclear if China can stop NKorea N-test: Biden

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Bali: The US President says he told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that Beijing had an obligation to tell North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un to avoid a seventh nuclear test.

Joe Biden has said he told Xi that China has an obligation to try to talk North Korea out of conducting a seventh nuclear test, although the US President said it was unclear whether Beijing had the ability to do so, BBC reports.

Biden met Xi for more than three hours on Monday, ahead of the G20 summit in Bali, their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took power.

At a press conference after the meeting, Biden said he told Xi “that I thought they had an obligation to attempt to make it clear” to North Korea that it should not go ahead with a test.

South Korea has said the North has finished all technical preparations for a new test, and Washington has warned for months that a test could take place soon.

Asked to what extent he believed China had the ability to talk Pyongyang out of conducting a test, Biden said he was not certain whether China “can control” its neighbour and long-time ally.

“It’s difficult to determine whether or not China has the capacity,” Biden said. “I’m confident China’s not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalatory means.”

US-led international sanctions have failed to halt North Korea’s growing weapons programs. Its record-breaking regime of weapons tests this year have included intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to reach the US mainland.

China, along with Russia, backed toughened United Nations sanctions after North Korea’s last nuclear test in 2017. But in May both countries vetoed a US-led push for more UN penalties over its renewed ballistic missile launches.

Biden also told Xi that the US would respond to a nuclear test by the North, and would defend its allies in the region, which include South Korea and Japan, he said.

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