Washington: The Obama administration is
sending its No 2 diplomat and three top Asia experts to China
next week for talks on North Korea as Washington presses a
reluctant Beijing to do more to rein in Pyongyang.
Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg will lead
the delegation to Beijing for the talks, the State Department
said yesterday. "They will meet senior officials to continue
consultations with the Chinese on regional security issues,
including recent developments on the Korean peninsula," said a
Earlier yesterday, Steinberg gave a talk to a
Washington think tank in which he urged China to press North
Korea harder on halting provocative acts. His comments were
the latest in a string of appeals from US officials for China
to use its influence with North Korea to reduce tensions.
The trip follows a State Department meeting on Monday
between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the
foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in which they
called on the North to stop "belligerent" behaviour, citing a
deadly artillery attack last month. They also rejected China`s
call for immediate talks with North Korea, saying the North
first needed to prove its commitment to peace and return to
six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.
Steinberg will be accompanied to China by the top Asia
official at the National Security Council, Jeffrey Bader, the
top US diplomat for east Asia and the Pacific, Kurt Campbell,
and the US special envoy for six-party talks, Sung Kim.
After meeting with the Chinese in Beijing, Steinberg
and Bader will return to Washington on December 17. Campbell
will travel to Tokyo for talks with Japanese officials and Kim
will see South Korean officials in Seoul.