January 21, 2016 09:34
The U.S. apparently remains inclined to keep the North Korean nuclear problem at arm's length and let China take the brunt.
On Wednesday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said China has a "special role" to play in its "special relationship" with North Korea.
Blinken was talking to reporters in Seoul after meetings with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam to discuss the fallout of North Korea's nuclear test earlier this month.
China "has more influence and more leverage over North Korea than any other country because virtually all of North Korea's trade goes to, from or through China," Blinken said.
"We are looking to China to show leadership on this issue."
He then went on to Beijing, where he met with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Yesui in the afternoon.
The U.S. has put "everything on the table," and is seeking further sanctions unilaterally and in partnership with other countries, he added.
Meanwhile, Blinken dutifully played to the fiction that Seoul and Washington have made no decision the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense batteries here. The THAAD batteries are a key part of the U.S.' missile defense shield and Beijing worries that they are mainly aimed at containing China's growing military might in the region.
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