Senior US Envoy Visits China Following Kim Jong Il’s Death

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Senior U.S. diplomat Kurt Campbell held talks with senior Chinese officials Wednesday in Beijing on the stability of North Korea following the death of former leader Kim Jong Il.

Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said after his meeting with foreign ministry officials that the United States and China share some of the same priorities for North Korea.

“On North Korea, I think the U.S. and China share a strong determination to maintain peace and stability. I think we both underscored how important it will be over the course of the coming months and weeks to maintain very close contact between Washington and Beijing.”

Campbell also urged all parties in the region to “cautiously deal with the situation and refrain from any provocations.”

The United States has frequently urged China – Pyongyang's closest ally – to use its influence to push for democratic reform in North Korea.

Campbell is the most senior U.S. diplomat to visit Northeast Asia since Mr. Kim's death on December 17.

Later Wednesday, Campbell is expected to arrive in South Korea. South Korea's defense ministry said earlier Wednesday that Washington and Seoul will soon sign a joint operational plan to counter potential North Korean provocations and increase joint military exercises.

On Friday, Campbell will head to Japan – another key U.S. ally in the region.