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U.S., China to discuss ways to get N. Korea out of 'fantasy' of 'byeongjin' policy

All Headlines 02:48 June 19, 2015

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, June 18 (Yonhap) -- The United States and China will use next week's high-level strategic talks to discuss ways to get North Korea out of the "fantasy" that it can revive its broken economy without having to give up its nuclear program, a senior U.S. diplomat said Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel made the remark during a Foreign Press Center briefing previewing the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) to be held in Washington from Monday through Wednesday, saying Washington and Beijing share the same goal of ending Pyongyang's nuclear program.

"North Korea harbors the fantasy that it can have its cake and eat it too," Russel said. "North Korea is hoping to be able to rescue itself from the economic failure of its system through external aid while simultaneously and brazenly carrying forward on its nuclear and missile program. That's just not going to happen."

In next week's talks with China, Russel said, the two sides will "ask ourselves how we can further adjust our posture to accelerate the realization on the part of North Korea's leadership that negotiations to end their nuclear program are the only path available to them that allows for economic growth."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made the "byeongjin" policy one of the country's biggest goals, pledging to rebuild the country's moribund economy while at the same time forging ahead with its nuclear program.

South Korea and the U.S. have said the policy is a nonstarter, stressing the North cannot revive its economy as long as it holds on to nuclear ambitions. In recent months, however, some experts have said cautiously that the North's policy might be working, citing signs of improvement in the North's economy.

Russel stressed that Pyongyang can tap into the goodwill of the international community "simply by honoring its own commitment, by coming into compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions and by beginning credible, authentic negotiations on the nuclear issue."

Representing the U.S. at next week's talks, which will be the seventh session of the annual dialogue, will be Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew. Their Chinese counterparts will State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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