China Will Help Get Rid Of Nuclear Weapons In North Korea, Announces John Kerry
It's about time. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that China has agreed to put pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear program, five years after North Korea proudly announced it had built its first nuclear weapon. In a meeting earlier this week, Kerry asked China's president Xi Jinping to help America out in denuclearizing North Korea, and in an unexpected move, China — an longtime trading ally of North Korea — said yes.
It wasn't an easy win. Kerry said he butted heads with Chinese leaders over other issues, such as territorial disputes with neighboring areas, but government officials said China has realized the important role it plays in these nuclear talks and Beijing recognized its "responsibility." While there are no specific details yet on how China plans to turn the heat on North Korea, the Secretary of State expressed the unique power Beijing has as an economic provider for North Korea and noted that "there are some ideas on the table."
China, unlike other nations involved in North Korea nuclear talks, has an extensive trading relationship with the notoriously reclusive country. The two countries have had a long history of being allies, but tensions began to rise last year after North Korea disregarded China's requests to stop a nuclear test.
North Korea has repeatedly ignored international warnings to not, repeat not, build long-range missiles and atomic bombs. Since Kim Jong-un took over, there have been increased reports of aggressive actions — such as Kim's uncle and Kim's ex-girlfriend being executed by firing squad. It's hard to tell how many of these reports are fabrication, however, since there are virtually no press freedoms in North Korea.
But one area where North Korea has progressed is reuniting families separated by the Korean War. North Korea had demanded that cross-border family reunions could only take place if South Korea suspended its military exercises with the U.S.
But in a Friday agreement, the notoriously obstinate country yielded, deciding that families torn apart may get another chance to see each other for the first time since 2010. Elderly relatives will meet Feb. 20-25 inside North Korea.
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