Hu Jintao in America: 7 questions about the Chinese president's visit

Hu Jintao, the Chinese president, arrives in the US for a summit with President Obama. Among the issues on the docket for Obama and Hu Jintao: Chinese currency, economic trade, and human rights.

4. What does Washington want on North Korea?

  • close
    A North Korean soldier stands guard on the banks of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, Dec. 20.
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Presummit visits by US officials to China appear to have elicited Beijing’s help in pressuring North Korea to back off its increasingly hostile stance toward South Korea.

But Obama wants more. The administration aims to break the established cycle of rewarding North Korea for speaking conciliatory words after some bellicose or destabilizing act.

Instead, the US is refusing any return to international talks until Pyongyang takes steps to honor the denuclearization commitments it has already made – and it wants Beijing’s help with that approach. In recent days, however, administration officials have suggested the US could entertain a return to the international talks, especially if it has assurances from China that Beijing will strictly enforce international sanctions on the North's nuclear and missile programs.

4 of 7