US envoy: 'Very strong consensus' with China on N. Korea

Posted at 01/25/13 11:26 PM

BEIJING – The United States and China have "achieved a very strong degree of consensus" on North Korea, US envoy Glyn Davies said Friday after meetings in Beijing following Pyongyang saying it planned another nuclear test.

"We come here in the wake of some dramatic steps," he told reporters in Beijing. Referring to the North's earlier threat to take "physical counter-measures" against the South, he added that the comments were "troubling and counter-productive".

Davies, the US special representative for North Korea policy, said he had had wide-ranging discussions with Chinese officials on "all aspects of the North Korea issue" and they "achieved a very strong degree of consensus".

Both sides agreed that "a nuclear test would be troubling and a setback to the efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula", he said.

They also agreed that UN resolution 2087, passed earlier this week expanding sanctions against Pyongyang, was an "appropriate response and an important and strong response" to the North's rocket launch last month.

"We talked about the implementations of the UN Security Council resolution and the Chinese assured us that they would of course follow and implement that resolution, and we take them at their word," Davies added.

As North Korea's main economic lifeline, China is seen as the only country with any genuine leverage over the impoverished, isolated and nuclear-armed state -- although Pyongyang has long played on Chinese fears of the consequences of the country's collapse to defy Beijing's efforts.

The UN resolution was the product of extended negotiations between Washington and Beijing, with envoys saying China had sought to shield Pyongyang from stronger sanctions.

In an unusually frank warning on Friday, China's state-run media indicated that Beijing would decrease aid to Pyongyang if it goes ahead with an atomic test.

"If North Korea engages in further nuclear tests, China will not hesitate to reduce its assistance," the Global Times, which is close to China's ruling Communist Party, said in an editorial.

"China hopes for a stable peninsula, but it's not the end of the world if there's trouble there," it added.

The Global Times editorial expressed displeasure at a lack of North Korean understanding of Beijing's role after China voted for the UN resolution.

"It seems that North Korea does not appreciate China's effort," the newspaper said.

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