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China And US Closing Ranks Over North Korea Issue

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill
by Staff Writers
Nadi (AFP) Fiji, Oct 25, 2006
The US and China "have never been closer" in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said Wednesday. Hill, who has responsibility for East Asia and the Pacific, has been travelling recently with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in East Asia to try to ensure a united front on the application of UN sanctions against North Korea after its nuclear test on October 9.

"In China we felt we were speaking with one voice on this issue," Hill told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of Pacific Island Forum leaders.

"At no time have we felt closer together than we have felt in the wake of these North Korean provocations."

"I think the Chinese understand that the North Korean provocations, the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapons programme is really something quite beyond the pale and something we need to all speak with one voice about," Hill said.

"It always used to be that the Chinese would ask for more patience and we'd ask the Chinese for less patience but I think today we are really working better together."

"Ultimately the proof of the pudding will be if we can get North Korea back to the negotiating table and out of these programmes."

China is Pyongyang's closest ally and Beijing's foreign ministry said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il had told Chinese envoy Tang Jiaxuan last week that a second nuclear test was not currently planned.

However, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman added that increased international pressure could trigger more action.

earlier related report
Rice Plays Down Veiled Putin Criticism Of US Handling Of North Korea Crisis
Washington (AFP) Oct 25 - The United States brushed aside a complaint Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin that North Korea tested a nuclear weapon because it had been backed into a corner by its rivals. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met Putin last week in Moscow, said she had extensive discussions on the North Korean issue with Russian leaders and agreed on the need to implement UN sanctions against Pyongyang over its October 9 test.

The goal of the resolution, she said, is to force North Korea back into six-party talks on giving up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and improved relations with the international community.

"It is true that people are concerned that North Korea have a path out if it decides to choose that path out," she said when asked about Putin's remarks during an appearance at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.

"And I think we have established that there is indeed a path, which is the six-party talks -- that all North Korea needs to do is return to those and return to them seriously," she said.

In what was seen as veiled criticism of the aggressive US policy on North Korea, Putin said earlier on Russian television that one of the reasons Pyongyang chose to set off its first nuclear explosion was that "not all participants in the (six-party) talks process could find the right tone in the talks".

"You never need to push a situation into a dead end. You never put one of the participants in negotiations in such a situation where it has almost no exit, except one -- to escalate the situation," Putin said.

Rice played down the remarks.

"I don't read anything into concerns that you worry about North Korea being locked into a corner, because everybody understands that they've got to implement the resolution," she said.

The six-party talks include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the United States and North Korea.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Cold War Policies Could Return
Washington (UPI) Oct. 25, 2006
With support faltering for the war in Iraq a return to Cold War-era containment tactics may be in the works, experts say, but the efficiency of broad strategic changes could prove troublesome as the United States finds itself mired in a multifaceted war on terror.

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