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U.S., Chinese defense chiefs discuss sanctions on N. Korea

All Headlines 03:57 June 01, 2019

WASHINGTON, May 31 (Yonhap) -- The defense chiefs of the United States and China on Friday discussed ways to better enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea, the Pentagon said.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe held a "constructive and productive" meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore, according to Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman.

"The two leaders discussed ways to build military-to-military relations that reduce the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation between our nations," he said in a statement.

"Secretary Shanahan specifically discussed how our militaries can better cooperate to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolutions related to DPRK sanctions," he added, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

China's cooperation is critical because nearly all of North Korea's external trade flows through the neighboring nation.

The U.S. has insisted on keeping all sanctions on North Korea until the regime abandons its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted a day earlier that China has done "good work" enforcing the sanctions but could always do better.

"It's not perfect. It's not perfect anywhere," he told reporters traveling with him to Europe. "We're always looking to do better with respect to enforcement. But they've been a very good partner on that issue even while there have been difficult conversations on trade taking place."

Pompeo said the U.S. and China have a "substantially overlapping interest" when it comes to denuclearizing North Korea.

hague@yna.co.kr
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