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Mullen Calls on China to Help Curb North Korean Aggression

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 8, 2010 – The top U.S. military officer cited growing security challenges created by North Korean aggression and called on China to join other regional nations to help counter it.

“The regime in the north continues to isolate itself and to act in a manner detrimental to … security,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said today during a joint news conference with General Han Min-goo, chairman of the South Korean military.

“Their relentlessness and reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons, highlighted by the brazen disclosure of a new uranium enrichment facility, flies in the face of international sanctions, violates U.N. Security Council resolutions and destabilizes the entire region,” he said.

Mullen cited strong international cooperation in helping curb such activities, but expressed regret that China has not stepped forward to join the effort.

He noted China’s strong influence over North Korea and responsibility to assert it. “And yet, despite a shared interest in reducing tensions, they appear unwilling to use it,” he said. “Now is the time for Beijing to step up to that responsibility and help guide the north, and indeed, the entire region, toward a better future.”

Mullen noted China’s offer to propose an emergency Six-Party Talks gathering, and reiterated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s point that “we first need an appropriate basis for the resumption of talks.”

“There is none, so long as North Korea persists in its illegal, ill-advised and dangerous behavior,” he said. “I do not believe we should continue to reward that behavior with bargaining or new incentives.”

Meanwhile, Mullen expressed hope that other regional neighbors and partners, particularly Japan, will continue to play active roles in dealing with North Korea.

He said he hopes to see “more trilateral and multilateral interaction in the region” and that he was encouraged to see South Korean observers participate in the Keen Sword exercises near Japan this week.

The chairman also noted the “truly historic” trilateral summit Clinton hosted in Washington on Dec. 6 in which she, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara discussed the situation.

Japan, like the United States, has a stake in seeing the North Korean threat countered, and has “much to offer in terms of viable training opportunities and expertise,” Mullen said. He noted that he plans to travel to Japan later today to talk with Japanese military leaders about ways to leverage their experience and improve defense cooperation.

Discussions and engagements like these “illustrate and deepen our relationships,” Mullen said, and cement the countries’ unified position on the North Korean threat.

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

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