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[2015.9.24] Why Xi and Obama must put North Korea on the agenda

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Why Xi and Obama must put North Korea on the agenda

A turbulent period awaits the region and America and China can only make headway on the DPRK’s nuclear programme by cooperating, argues The Diplomat

How to solve a problem like North Korea?
 How to solve a problem like North Korea? Photograph: KCNA/AFP/Getty Images

Xi Jinping and Barack Obama have much to talk about during the Chinese president’s three day visit to the United States – from the disputed territory in the South China Sea to cyber security and the devaluation of China’s currency.

But alongside these more high-profile matters there is another pressing problem that can only realistically be tackled through cooperation between the two of them: North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

Time for consensus

On 10 October North Korea will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party (KWP) and a big show is expected. The country has raised the possibility of launching a satellite and has not ruled out a fourth nuclear test, triggering warnings of “severe consequences” from Washington.

North Korea's scud-B missile
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 Models of North Korea’s scud-B missile, centre left, and other South Korean missiles on display at the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul Photograph: Ahn Young-joon/AP

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are rising, and Xi and Obama could prevent a potentially dangerous situation by forging a consensus to jointly apply pressure on the DPRK.

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