Kerry meets Chinese leader on N.K., island dispute

By 신용배
  • Published : Feb 14, 2014 - 14:09
  • Updated : Feb 14, 2014 - 14:33

 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday as part of President Barack Obama's efforts to prod Beijing to do more to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

The U.S. is also encouraging China to peacefully settle its territorial rows with Japan and a number of Southeast Asian nations.

Beginning the meeting with Xi at the Great Hall of the People, Kerry conveyed "good greetings" from President Barack Obama, according to an initial pool report for a small group of reporters traveling with the secretary.

He also noted Washington and Beijing -- the world's two most powerful economies -- are celebrating the 35th anniversary of their ties.

No further details were revealed.

Following the meeting with Xi, Kerry had talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

The secretary is also scheduled to meet with State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Premier Li Keqiang.

Kerry flew in here earlier in the day from Seoul, where he stressed the importance of China's role in dealing with North Korea.

Climate change is also high on the agenda, said his aides.

But media are paying more attention to the discussions on China's growing assertiveness in territorial disputes with neighboring nations.

Tensions between China and Japan have soared over a set of Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Kerry said he agrees that the uninhabited islands, called "Senkaku" in Japanese but "Diaoyu" in Chinese, fall under the U.S.-Japan defense treaty.

"That is the position of the United States with respect to those islands," he said.

U.S. officials have also made it clear that Washington would not recognize Beijing's unilateral expansion of its own air defense identification zone in the East China Sea.

In the South China Sea, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and China are involved in long-standing sovereignty disputes over a potentially oil- and gas-rich island chain.

The U.S. is increasingly concerned about the possibility of military clashes in the area. (Yonhap)