Obama urges China to help diffuse North Korea tension
In a phone call Monday, President Obama asked Chinese President Hu Jintao to put pressure on North Korea, even as US held military drills with South Korea.
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South Korea’s live-firing drills, which began Monday, are similar to those that North Korea says prompted its attack, reports Bloomberg. The North yesterday warned of "catastrophic consequences” for the military exercises. The South Korean minister of defense, meanwhile, said Monday that the South would invoke the right to self defense in the case of another attack by the North, regardless of the rules of engagement that govern the US-led United Nations force in the South, reports The Korea Times.Skip to next paragraph
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The Washington Post reports that the US has increased pressure on China to rein in the North while redefining ties with South Korea and Japan, “potentially creating an anti-China bloc in Northeast Asia that officials say they don't want but may need.” The Post reports that tone of the US relationship with China is deteriorating ahead of a meeting between Obama and Hu in January, and quotes a senior administration official as saying “we think the Chinese have been enabling North Korea.”
The U.S. exasperation with China over the Koreas has been evident since June, when President Obama accused China of "willful blindness" in remaining silent over North Korea's suspected sinking of a South Korean warship in March. But the administration's position now that China is in effect partially to blame for the problems is new. […]While the new U.S. position reflects a growing frustration with China's apparent unwillingness to rein in Pyongyang, it also underscores a sense that the United States and South Korea have run out of leverage with the North and are therefore left dependent on Beijing for a solution to the security of the peninsula.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that South Koreans are concerned about the will of their government and the US to defend them from the North and are disillusioned about the long-running, and unfruitful, attempts to get the North to give up its nuclear weapons.
IN PICTURES: Cult of Personality: Inside North Korea