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N. Korea, South China Sea issues to top agenda of security dialogue

The issues of North Korean nuclear crisis and South China Sea dispute is likely to dominate the agenda of the diplomatic and security dialogue that the US and China will hold on Wednesday for the first time, a former US diplomat specializing in Asian affairs has said.

In a recent interview with the Sino-US.com, Stapleton Roy, a former US ambassador to China, said that the two countries still have differences in dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue, as the US believes that China can put more pressure on Pyongyang to stop its missile and nuclear programs using its great influence in the region while the US is seeking an ultimate solution to the problem.

But in fact, China refuses to acknowledge its ability to curb North Korea's nuclear ambition and is worried that the ultimate US solution (referring to military operation) might lead to uncertain risks after the downfall of Kim Jong-un's regime, which is not acceptable to China, Roy said.

In Roy's opinion, the first step to solving the North Korean nuclear issue is to urge Pyongyang to suspend its nuclear tests, which is the precondition for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Roy suggested that the US should change the policy that only focuses on holding negotiations with North Korea over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

During the April meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the two world leaders reached some agreements. Xi promised Trump that China would impose more economic sanctions against North Korea amid concerns that Pyongyang's nuclear provocations might force the US, Japan and South Korea to take countermeasures that would harm the security interests of China.

Roy believed that the economic sanctions could hardly have any obvious effect because it would cut the economic ties between Chinese companies and North Korea. It will also trigger Chinese companies' antipathy toward the US.

In terms of the South China Sea dispute, Roy stressed that a code of conduct that can be accepted by all parties should be created as soon as possible, adding that the US is not a stakeholder in the South China Sea and that the US and China should not act in a way that is aimed at punishing each other in the region.

According to Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-chair the diplomatic and security dialogue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

The diplomatic and security dialogue is one of the four high-level mechanisms launched by Xi and Trump during the summit in Florida, amid tensions over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and trade issues.
 


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