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President Obama wants China's help with North Korea

SEOUL — President Barack Obama urged Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday to help the United States ratchet up international pressure on North Korea as the White House sought to enlist China's influence in its drive to halt Pyongyang's plans to launch a long-range rocket next month.

In a 90-minute bilateral meeting that White House aides said was dominated by talk of how to deal with Pyongyang's belligerence, Obama stressed to Hu that the North has repeatedly provoked the international community, despite efforts to keep the authoritarian nation in line.

"The Chinese indicated they take this very seriously. . . . They will work actively with us," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

The president's plea to China comes as Pyongyang has proved brazenly unwilling to bow to the U.S. administration's mix of economic sanctions and incentives.

The session was just one in a series of bilateral meetings that Obama held with world leaders here as part of an international summit on nuclear security. But his message for Hu illustrated the ways in which the administration, running low on options, is increasingly is turning to China for help on pressing foreign policy matters.

The administration's challenge, however, is complicated by its recent push to stand up to China on the economic front, including respecting intellectual property rights and revaluing its currency to balance trade.

Re-election talk irks Republicans

President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev spoke carefully Monday in Seoul about continuing discussions on the sensitive issues of European missile defense. But in an unscripted moment picked up by camera crews, the American president was more blunt: Let me get re-elected first, he said; then I'll have a better chance of making something happen. The remarks drew rapid criticism from Republicans in the United States. In a statement, Mitt Romney said, "President Obama signaled that he's going to cave to Russia on missile defense, but the American people have a right to know where else he plans to be 'flexible' in a second term."

President Obama wants China's help with North Korea 03/26/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 26, 2012 10:44pm]
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