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(LEAD) Kerry: U.S., China determined to 'fully enforce' sanctions against N. Korea

All News 19:00 June 07, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS Kerry's remarks on South China Sea, details in last 6 paras, photo)
By Kim Deok-hyun

BEIJING, June 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that Washington and Beijing are determined to "fully enforce" sanctions against North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions.

"Neither one of our nations will accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state," Kerry told reporters at the end of high-level talks with his Chinese counterparts in Beijing.

"We are both determined to fully enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270," Kerry said, referring to the latest U.N. sanctions against North Korea that went into force following Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test in January.

The U.S. and China agreed on the need to fully implement the sanctions against North Korea "to realize the goal of North Korea choosing the peaceful path of denuclearization," Kerry said.

The U.S. and China have been at odds over China's aggressive military behavior in the South China Sea, cyber-hacking, and trade disputes, as well as human rights issues, but they have struck a cooperative tone over North Korea.

At the start of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, Kerry called for China to "keep the pressure on North Korea."

China supported tougher U.N. sanctions following North Korea's fourth nuclear test in January.

In a sign of repairing political ties that were soured over the North's nuclear ambition, Ri Su-yong, a top official in North Korea's ruling party, met Xi last week in Beijing.

During the meeting with Xi, Ri said North Korea would stick to its policy of simultaneously pursuing both economic and nuclear development.

Tensions over China's ongoing construction of artificial islands and its increasingly assertive military activities in the South China Sea were one of the key sticking points at the high-level dialogue between Washington and Beijing.

Kerry called for nations involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea to find a "peaceful resolution based on the rule of law."

Kerry, however, admitted that Washington and Beijing remain at odds over a range of thorny issues, including the South China Sea.

"We didn't agree on everything," Kerry said. "The U.S.-China relationship is absolutely vital. It may well be the most consequential bilateral relationship of nations in the world."

China stepped up its island-building activities in the South China Sea as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is expected to rule on a case brought by the Philippines in the coming weeks. China has said it would not recognize the international court's ruling over its territorial claim in the South China Sea.

During a regional security forum in Singapore over the weekend, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned that China risks building a "Great Wall of self-isolation" with its aggressive military activities in the South China Sea.


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