Clinton troubled by N Korea

AFP, Thursday 2 Dec 2010

US Secretary of State Clinton held talks with Russia and China to diffuse rising tensions on the Korean peninsula

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks on North Korea with Russian and Chinese officials ahead of meeting South Korean and Japanese officials next week, she said Thursday.

"I've already spoken to high-ranking Chinese and Russian officials and we will discuss how we can work together to try to avoid conflict," she said during a brief visit to Kyrgyzstan.

Clinton said she held the talks ahead of her meeting with the foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan on Monday to discuss Pyongyang's shelling of a South Korean island close to a disputed marine border on 23 November.

"The US is very concerned about North Korea and we want to work with countries in the immediate region" she said, listing China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan.

China complained on Thursday that it was being unfairly "criticised" for calling for dialogue to address the latest tensions on the Korean peninsula following North Korea's artillery attack.

Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have snubbed Beijing's proposal for six-way crisis talks that would also include Moscow and Pyongyang -- instead scheduling their own three-way foreign ministers' talks in Washington next Monday.

Speaking to a crowd of students in Bishkek, Clinton said "North Korea poses an immediate threat to the region around it, particularly to South Korea and Japan and a medium term threat, should it collapse, to China."

North Korea also "poses a longer term threat to the entire world because of its nuclear programme and its export of weapons around the world," she said.

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