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Obama, Xi reaffirm commitment to full implementation of U.N. sanctions on N. Korea: White House

All Headlines 00:08 April 02, 2016

By Chang Jae-soon

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Yonhap) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to fully implement the new package of U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea, the White House said Friday.

Obama and Xi held one-on-one talks on Thursday on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. North Korea was among the key topics of discussion, along with other thorny issues such as cybersecurity, maritime disputes and human rights.

"Both leaders committed to ... strengthen coordination in addressing the shared threat presented by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile systems," the White House said in a readout. "Both leaders affirmed their commitment to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the full implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270."

China is considered the only country with any meaningful influence over Pyongyang as the main provider of food and energy aid as well as diplomatic protection for the impoverished North.

But Beijing has often showed reluctance to use that influence as it fears that pushing Pyongyang too hard could lead to its collapse, an influx of refugees into the country, instability on its border, and ultimately the emergence of a pro-U.S. nation on its doorstep.

After the North's fourth nuclear test in January, Beijing initially balked at imposing harsh sanctions on Pyongyang, but later signed on to the toughest-ever package of U.N. Security Council sanctions after the North's test of long-range missile technology in February.

The White House readout made no mention of the dispute between Washington and Beijing over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system that the U.S. is considering deploying to South Korea to better defend against North Korean threats.

But China's assistant foreign minister, Zheng Zeguang, said that Xi told Obama during Thursday's meeting that China is "firmly opposed" to the deployment of a THAAD battery in South Korea. Zheng also said the deployment would "undermine China's security interests."

On human rights, the readout said that Obama reiterated unwavering support for upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms in China. Both leaders reaffirmed the cyber commitments announced during Xi's visit to Washington last year and agreed to ensure their full implementation, it said.

Obama also "urged China to address differences with its neighbors on maritime issues peacefully and in accordance with international law and emphasized the United States' global interest in upholding freedom of navigation and overflight," it said.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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