U.S., China 'Concerned' About N.Korea's Uranium Program

      January 21, 2011 10:32

      U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao expressed "concern regarding [North Korea's] claimed uranium enrichment program" and agreed that "sincere and constructive inter-Korean dialogue is an essential step" to reduce tension on the Korean Peninsula. It was the first time China has expressed a view about the North's uranium program.

      In a joint statement released after their summit in Washington on Wednesday, the two leaders said, "Both sides oppose all activities inconsistent with the 2005 Joint Statement and relevant international obligations and commitments. The two sides called for the necessary steps that would allow for early resumption of the six-party talks process to address this and other relevant issues."

      They also agreed "on the crucial importance of denuclearization of the Peninsula in order to preserve peace and stability in Northeast Asia."

      Chinese President Hu Jintao addresses guests at a dinner party hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Wednesday. /AP-Newsis

      Earlier in a joint press conference he gave alongside Hu at the White House, Obama said, "We agreed that North Korea must avoid further provocations. I also said that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile program is increasingly a direct threat to the security of the United States and our allies... In that regard, the international community must continue to state clearly that North Korea's uranium enrichment program is in violation of North Korea's commitments and international obligations."

      The joint statement also touches on expansion of bilateral military and civilian exchanges, and strengthening of bilateral economic cooperation. But it merely enumerates the positions of each side after they failed to reach consensus on key issues such as yuan revaluation and China's human rights situation.

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