U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wants to discuss Korean reunification during his visit to China later this month.
China is North Korea's sole ally, and the two fought against the U.S. and South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. Beijing has therefore always been reluctant to discuss Korean reunification.
The U.S. State Department website quoted Kerry as saying during a recent security conference in Germany, "We're rebalancing with Asia. We're working on North Korea." He added, "I will be in China in two weeks working on the North Korean issue, working with [South] Korea, Japan, reunification, you name the issue -- South China Sea."
Kerry said he intends to work with both South Korea and Japan to deter North Korean aggression.
A government official here said Kerry "is probably aware that interest in reunification has increased in [South] Korea." The official added, "If Kerry visits [South] Korea either before or after his trip to China, North Korean issues will be one of the key points on the agenda."
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the same conference cited "rogue nations such as North Korea" among global threats, along with cyber warfare, demographic changes and economic disparity.