White House looks to China to help stem North Korean nuclear threat

The Biden administration is seeking to partner with China to help contain the North Korean nuclear threat, Newsweek reports.

According to a senior administration official, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and China’s Central Foreign Affairs Committee Director Yang Jiechi met Monday in Luxembourg for a “frank, thorough, substantial and productive” which lasted almost five hours.

A reading of the call, provided by the White House, gave little information about the meeting, saying simply that the two men discussed “a number of regional and global security issues, as well as key issues in US-China relations. ‘

According to the reading, Sullivan “stressed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication to manage the competition between our two countries.”

The administration official told Newsweek that areas of international affairs that were discussed by the two diplomats included Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Washington’s “Indo-Pacific” strategy.

Sullivan “raised concerns about Beijing’s recent decision to veto a UN Security Council resolution amid North Korea’s exploratory testing and indications that Pyongyang is preparing its site for ‘nuclear testing for a possible weapons test,’ the official said.

Since carrying out its first nuclear weapons test in 2006, North Korea has been under intense international sanctions, but the ruling Kim dynasty has continued testing nonetheless.

There have been five other tests over the years, with the most recent and powerful being conducted in 2017 under Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

While North Korea has yet to resume nuclear testing, it carried out its first intercontinental ballistic missile launch in nearly five years in March, marking the biggest divergence to date from a process of unsuccessful peace initiated by the United States and the two Koreas in 2018.

Although an ally of North Korea, China has generally supported sanctions against the isolated Asian country, but the issue has recently been pushed aside by a growing geopolitical rivalry between Washington and Beijing, according to Newsweek.

“I think that scenario is one where the United States and China have a history of cooperation, a history of [having the] ability to work with aligned interests,” the senior White House official told Newsweek. “I think what I would say is that each side has laid out their positions and how we see the situation.”

“And certainly, Jake has made it clear that we believe this is an area where the United States and China should be able to work together,” the official added.

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