Speaking in Seoul before leaving for Beijing, Kerry said on China
should be doing more to help nudge Pyongyang — which has rattled the
region with nuclear tests and angry rhetoric — into line.
Asked about that remark, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua
Chunying said China had been working hard to get North Korea to
return to talks on its nuclear program, pointing out Chinese
diplomats visited Pyongyang recently.
"China as a responsible, big country has been actively promoting and
resolving the nuclear issue and has played its due role," Hua told a
daily news briefing.
"We have, through different channels, worked on the North Korea
nuclear problem through the six-party nuclear talks, and have
maintained close communication with the parties."
North Korea was raised during Kerry's meeting with Chinese President
Xi Jinping, according to the official Xinhua news agency, with Xi
"setting forth China's stance". The report provided no other
The East and South China Seas are likely to feature prominently on
Kerry's agenda too.
The United States has been increasingly uneasy at what it sees as
China's effort to gain creeping control over waters in the
Asia-Pacific region, including its November 23 declaration of an air
defense identification zone (ADIZ) in an area of the East China Sea
that includes islands at the centre of a dispute with Japan.
China also claims about 90 percent of the 3.5 million square km
(1.35 million square miles) South China Sea, depicting what it sees
as its area on maps with a so-called nine-dash line, looping far out
over the sea from south China.
[to top of second column]
On Thursday, the commander of the U.S. Navy said the United States
would come to the aid of the Philippines in the event of conflict
with China over disputed waters in the South China Sea.
Hua said the United States should stick to its promises and not take
sides in this dispute.
"The United States is not a party in the South China Sea dispute,
and should ... be careful in its words and actions, and do more that
will benefit true peace and stability in the region rather than the
opposite," she said.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have
claims over the South China Sea, or at least parts of it.
Speaking in Washington on Thursday, a senior Philippine official
urged the United States to exert more diplomatic, political and
other measures to check China's expansion in the South China Sea.
"The seeming lack of a clear, perceivable and credible position on
the part of the U.S. and other major international players makes
China's assertive actions effective and undoubtedly boosts the
pursuit of her interest," Vice Admiral Alexander Pama, a former navy
chief, told a security forum, in comments released by the Philippine
(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; additional reporting by Manuel Mogato in
Manila; writing by Ben Blanchard; editing by Robert Birsel)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.