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Obama to discuss N. Korea with Chinese, Russian, Japanese leaders

WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) -- When U.S. President Barack Obama holds bilateral summits with his Russian, Chinese and Japanese counterparts in Hawaii later this week, North Korea will be high on agenda, White House officials said Wednesday.

Obama is scheduled to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Saturday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

“We‘ll, of course, address with the Russians a broad number of other issues, from nuclear security, nonproliferation, Iran, North Korea, and the full gamut of U.S.-Russia relations,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters.

Obama plans to hold summit talks with Hu later Saturday, their first meeting since Hu’s state visit to the U.S. in January.

Rhodes said it’s an important opportunity to discuss Washington’s economic agenda, including efforts to sustain global growth through a rebalancing of global demand.

The U.S. has pressured China to let its currency, the yuan, appreciate at a faster pace.

“I‘m sure, nonproliferation issues and issues associated with Iran and North Korea (will be addressed) as well,” he added.

The Obama administration’s diplomacy on the two states is apparently at a crucial juncture again following the IAEA’s findings that Iran’s uranium enrichment program is aimed at weapons development. Washington is also expected to have another round of high-level talks with Pyongyang in coming months.

After attending the APEC meeting in his native state, Obama plans to visit Australia and join the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali.

He would become the first U.S. leader to participate in the EAS, which includes the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus South Korea, China, Russia, India, Australia, Japan, the U.S. and New Zealand.

“I think, in the East Asia Summit context, that will include more nonproliferation agenda,” Rhodes said. “Of course, you have an ongoing proliferation concern in the region, with North Korea. So I‘m sure the president will be addressing in his meetings our commitment to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Obama, however, has no plan to meet bilaterally with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak during his participation in the APEC and EAS meetings. They met in Washington last month when Lee made a state visit.
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