December 9, 2013
Obama urges China to rein in North Korea in nuclear standoff
US President Barack Obama urged China to use its influence to stop North Korea's "bad behavior" in a nuclear standoff with the West and hinted at tougher sanctions if the reclusive state goes ahead with a rocket launch next month.
Such a launch would only further isolate the impoverished North, which much show its sincerity if on-again-off-again six-party aid-for-disarmament talks are to restart, Obama said.
Seoul and Washington say the launch is a disguised test of ballistic missile. North Korea says it merely wants to put a satellite into orbit.
Obama said that Beijing's actions of "rewarding bad behavior (and) turning a blind eye to deliberate provocations" were obviously not working, adding he would raise the matter at a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday.
"I believe that China is very sincere that it does not want to see North Korea with a nuclear weapon," he told a news conference in Seoul before a global summit on nuclear security. "But it is going to have to act on that interest in a sustained way."
Obama's comments were his strongest push yet to get China to use its influence to rein in its ally North Korea and dovetails with recent calls for Beijing to meet its responsibilities as a rising world power.
In an election year when Republicans have accused Obama of not being strong enough with Beijing, talking tough on China is seen as a vote-winner after three years of troubled diplomacy in dealing with Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
China is host to the six-party talks which also involve the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.