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(LEAD) China: No 'key' in curbing N. Korea's nuclear ambition

All Headlines 18:11 January 08, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with fresh quotes, details; AMENDS headline)

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- China said Friday that it holds no "key" to curbing North Korea's nuclear ambition, while the United States is urging Beijing to put more pressure on Pyongyang after the North's fourth nuclear test.

The remarks by Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying were seen as a rare public acknowledgment that China's influence on its unruly ally North Korea is limited.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a telephone conservation on Thursday, "There cannot be business as usual" after North Korea claimed it successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test.

Kerry said he reached the agreement with Wang, after making clear to his Chinese counterpart that the latest nuclear test has proven that Beijing's approach to the North Korean nuclear issue "has not worked."

The Wednesday nuclear test by North Korea is viewed as a diplomatic failure by Chinese President Xi Jinping in trying to rein in North Korea.

In response to such a view, Hua said, "I want to emphasize that the origin and frictions of the North Korean nuclear issue do not lie in China. The key of resolving the issue does not lie in China."

However, Hua repeated that, "China urges the North Korean side to stick to reaffirming its commitment of denuclearization and stop taking actions that make the situation worse."

South Korea resumed the propaganda broadcasts into North Korea earlier in the day in retaliation against the North's latest nuclear test. The broadcasts were previously viewed by North Korea as an act of war.

"All sides should also remain calm, continue to peacefully address the issue and refrain from taking actions that may aggravate tensions," Hua said.

Friday is the birthday of North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un.

Hua said she is "not aware of" whether China sent a congratulatory message for Kim's birthday.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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