The Korea Herald


U.S., China agree 'There cannot be business as usual' after N.K. nuclear test

By KH디지털2

Published : Jan. 8, 2016 - 10:12

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The United States and China agreed Thursday that "there cannot be business as usual" after North Korea's fourth nuclear test, Secretary of State John Kerry said, as calls grow for a tough response to the provocative regime.

Kerry said he reached the agreement with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after making clear to his Chinese counterpart that the latest nuclear test has proven that Beijing's approach to the North Korean nuclear issue "has not worked."

"Today, I talked with Foreign Minister Wang Yi at some length.

We discussed various options and ways in which we should proceed forward. We agreed that there cannot be business as usual," Kerry told reporters ahead of a regular press briefing.

The two sides also agreed to work very closely together to determine the steps they can take in order to address increasing concerns about the North recent nuclear test, Kerry said.

"China had a particular approach that it wanted to make and we agreed and respected to give them the space to be able to implement that, but today in my conversation with the Chinese I made it very clear, that has not worked and we cannot continue business as usual," Kerry said.

He also said that the North's latest nuclear test "simply underscores America's firm and continued commitment to regional security and global nonproliferation and we remain committed to that."

Kerry said Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken will be traveling to the region to discuss the issue and Kerry will also be heading to the region in a couple of weeks to help set up a summit with Southeast Asian nations and possibly for meetings with regard to the North Korean situation as well.

North Korea stunned the world Wednesday with an announcement that it has successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test. The communist nation also claimed that the country "proudly joined the advanced ranks of nuclear weapons states possessed of even an H-bomb."

The U.S. said it is true that the North conducted a nuclear test, though it expressed doubts about Pyongyang's claims that the test involved a hydrogen bomb. 

The latest test marked the North's fourth nuclear test following three previous ones in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

The U.S. Security Council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday. After the session, the 15-member council said it "strongly condemns" the test and will immediately start work on a new sanctions resolution against the communist nation.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that a U.N. Security Council response would include additional economic sanctions, and the U.S. is working closely with China to determine an appropriate response.

"Obviously, the nation of China wields more influence over the North Korean regime than probably any other country in the world, and we certainly want to work closely with them to determine an appropriate response," he said.

Earnest also said that the international community is "more united than ever before" and the North is "more isolated than ever before."

He said that the North has only one path to choose to try to deal with the extreme poverty and extreme isolation.

"That path is one that includes them ceasing their provocative activities, that includes ceasing missile tests and ending nuclear tests like this one," Earnest said.

Members of Congress have also called for stronger sanctions on Pyongyang.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the House will soon vote on a bill calling for stronger sanctions against the North. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Democrats would provide "strong bipartisan support" for the legislation.

Sen. James Risch (R-ID), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the U.S. is expected to consider banking sanctions on the North, even though it's hard to turn the screw much tighter as the North has already been heavily sanctioned.

"I think that what is going to happen is, there are going to be some banking sanctions that they can turn the screw a little tighter on with some of the banks that they are doing business with in Asia. I have no doubt that that's going to be looked at," he said.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) called for "the toughest and broadest possible sanctions against North Korea and those who aid the regime's illicit activities," while Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the U.S. and its allies should take "take additional steps to combine effective sanctions with appropriate countermeasures." (Yonhap)