In the News – U.S., China set for high-level talks amid tensions over N. Korea

In the News – U.S., China set for high-level talks amid tensions over N. Korea

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, April 23 (Yonhap) — The United States and China have North Korea on the agenda when they hold annual high-level talks next week in Beijing, officials said Monday.

At the 4th Strategic and Economic Dialogue, slated for Thursday and Friday, the U.S. will be represented by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to the Treasury Department.

Their Chinese counterparts will be Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, it added.

The talks between the world’s superpowers, dubbed “G-2,” are designed to discuss far-reaching economic and security issues.

This year’s session comes as their partnership on regional security has again been put to the test after North Korea’s attempted rocket launch this month. It is suspected that the North may also conduct another nuclear test or take provocative action against South Korea in the near future.

The North’s military issued a formal statement Monday threatening “special actions” against South Korea.

North Korea will be high on the agenda at the U.S.-China strategic dialogue, along with Iran, Syria and trade in general, officials said.

“On the State Department side, it’s everything from our student exchange program, as you can imagine, to the regional issues that we talk about, like North Korea, to the global issues, like our work together on Iran, et cetera,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing.

The two nations will also discuss economic, financial and currency issues, she added.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang and Beijing reaffirmed their commitments to close ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao met Monday with a top North Korean official, Kim Yong-il, in Beijing.

Hu delivered a congratulatory message to the North’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, for being granted the title of first secretary of the Workers’ Party, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Hu told Kim Yong-il, in charge of international relations at the North’s Workers’ Party, that Beijing remains committed to strengthening cooperation, it added.

“China will as always work with DPRK (North Korea) comrades to maintain high-level contact and exchanges between the political parties, promote practical cooperation and good-neighborly friendship and strengthen communication and coordination on major regional and international issues,” Hu was quoted as saying.

The North’s state media quickly carried Kim Jong-un’s response.

“It is the steadfast stand of our party and government to invariably develop the traditional DPRK-China friendship provided and cultivated by the leaders of elder generations of the two countries,” Kim was quoted as saying.


Original article can be found here.


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