US conveys concerns over N.Korean nuclear test to China during high-level talks
US endorses Japan’s move toward rearmament and active role in maintaining peace and stability in Indo-Pacific region
The United States conveyed its concern to China over a possible North Korean nuclear test during the recent high-level bilateral talks, top White House officials said on Thursday.
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan and top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi met on Monday in Luxembourg and discussed regional and global security issues and key pending issues in US-China relations.
Speaking at an online event hosted by the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, Sullivan said a much-speculated nuclear test by North Korea, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the maintenance of stability across the Taiwan Strait took center stage during the meeting that lasted nearly five hours.
“On North Korea, we have expressed our concern that North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test. We have said that publicly. We have communicated that to China,” Sullivan said when asked if the US and China have reached any consensus on the war in Ukraine and North Korea’s possible nuclear test.
Sullivan suggested that the US side called for China to exert its leverage to convince North Korea not to conduct a seventh nuclear test.
“The proof will be in the pudding. Let‘s see how things play out, but both of these subjects featured prominently in our discussions on Monday in Europe, the discussion I had with my counterpart, Yang,” Sullivan said, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a potential nuclear test by North Korea.
But Washington and Beijing have failed to take concerted action against North Korea’s record-breaking flurry of short and long-range missile launches.
In May, United Nations Security Council permanent members China and Russia vetoed a fresh sanctions resolution proposed by the US to the UNSC. Meanwhile, the UNSC’s other 13 members voted in favor.
North Korea has launched 31 ballistic missiles including intercontinental ballistic missiles in less than six months this year, breaking the previous record of 25 in 2019. But the UNSC’s 15 members have failed to take any countermeasures.
Speaking at the same event, the White House Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell said the US and China had a “detailed and very frank set of discussions” about Ukraine, North Korea and the Indo-Pacific strategy during the latest high-level talks.
Campbell underscored that the Biden administration essentially sought to make sure to keep communication lines with China open in the case of “inadvertence or miscalculation” and remove the areas of potential miscalculation between the two countries.
“That is the primary pursuit, as we try to build what is undeniably a competitive relationship, but hopefully a peaceful relationship in which the best aspects of competition on both sides can be brought out,” he said.
US supports Japan’s rearmament
The US policy coordinator for the Indo-Pacific also conspicuously expressed endorsement of Japan’s move toward rearming, pointing out that Japan has become “responsibly engaged in the Indo-Pacific.”
“Japan has been deeply committed to peace and stability in Asia, and in the Indo-Pacific,” Campbell said when asked how he sees the rearmament of both Japan and Germany and its ramifications on world order.
“The United States has complete confidence in Japan making the right decisions about playing a more active role across the board.”
Campbell repeatedly complimented Japan’s contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and responding to traditional and non-traditional threats.
“When we indicated we wanted to work more with like-minded nations in the Pacific, Japan was there to stand up,” he said. “So what we’re seeing is a more active, responsible leading set of attributes in the current Japanese leadership, in Prime Minister Kishida and his team that we are both deeply grateful for and admiring up.”
The White House Indo-Pacific coordinator notably juxtaposed Germany and Japan, which were defeated in World War II, to justify their move to remilitarize themselves, particularly in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I think Germany is a deeply responsible nation, and memories of a distant period do not animate modern concerns of Europe. And I would say the same of Japan,” he said.
“I’ve been extremely impressed at the responsible way the new German government has engaged on the tragedy of Ukraine.”
Campbell said he highly appreciated Germany’s deep dialogue and fundamental engagement with transatlantic partners and close partnership with the US in responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as a “transparent responsible set of ambitions around increasing defense spending.”
“The truth is the reality on the ground. In Europe, the demands ... of strong democratic states like Germany to do more are clear. And so I think that is entirely appropriate,” he said, referring to the rearmament of Germany.
Campbell’s comments came hours after Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday pledged to stretch its military budget to fundamentally reinforce the county’s defense capabilities.
The Liberal Democratic Party did not specify the budget increase amount in its campaign manifesto, issued in the run-up to an upper house election scheduled for July 10.
But the ruling party referred to the NATO members’ goal of raising their defense spending to 2 percent of their respective gross domestic product, hinting that Japan will double its military budget. Japan spends over one percent of its GDP on the defense budget.
The party also set a goal of acquiring counterstrike capabilities that enable Japan to preemptively attack enemy missile bases and disable enemy weapons in case of contingencies such as an imminent attack.
By Ji Da-gyum
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