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Korean Peninsula tensions key topic for Obama's talks with Xi: White House

All Headlines 04:16 August 30, 2016

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- Tensions on the Korean Peninsula will be a key topic for U.S. President Barack Obama's upcoming talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the White House said Monday.

Obama is scheduled to visit China later this week for a summit with Xi and a summit of the Group of 20 nations.

The trip comes after the North ratcheted up tensions with a successful submarine-launched ballistic missile test that demonstrated the communist nation is making fast progress in its SLBM development.

The Obama-Xi summit, set for Sept. 3, also comes as the U.S. and China are at odds over maritime disputes in the South China Sea and the U.S. plan to deploy the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.

"We'll be able to review the progress we've made on the global economy, on climate change, our shared efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons through the Iran deal, our shared concerns about the situation on the Korean Peninsula," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser, at a White House briefing.

"Of course, we'll also be addressing differences, as we always do with China, whether it relates to cyber issues, some of the economic practices that we have raised concerns about, some of the tensions around maritime issues in the South China Sea, and of course, our long-standing differences on human rights, as well," he said.

Rhodes did not say whether the THAAD issue will be on the agenda, but Xi is expected to raise the issue.

China has strongly protested the decision by Washington and Seoul to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) unit in South Korea, saying the system, especially the powerful "X-band" radar, could be used against it, despite repeated U.S. assurances the system is purely defensive and designed only to cope with North Korean threats.

The issue has raised concern that China might be refusing to render full-scale cooperation for international efforts to increase pressure on Pyongyang, including implementing the latest U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution, in protest of the THAAD deployment decision.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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