AFTER issuing contrasting responses to North Korea’s fifth nuclear test two weeks ago, the United States and China – the world’s largest and second largest economies respectively – vowed Monday to coordinate more closely on addressing the nuclear threat posed by the reclusive regime.
According to reports, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Both leaders condemned North Korea’s Sept 9 nuclear test and resolved to strengthen coordination in achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, including by invigorating cooperation in the United Nations Security Council and in law enforcement channels on North Korea,” a statement from the White House said, according to Reuters.
Both parties also reportedly discussed economic ties between the U.S. and China.
The statement describing the meeting made no specific reference to maritime issues but according to the Associated Press, explained that the leaders discussed climate change, trade and other key issues.
A Wall Street Journal report on Monday said both China and the U.S. are also currently targeting the finances of Liaoning Hongxiang Industrial, the Chinese conglomerate that the Obama leadership believes plays a role in North Korea’s nuclear program.
The report said last Thursday, police in Liaoning confirmed they have begun investigating the firm for alleged involvement in “serious crimes” over the course of its trading activities.
Citing government and corporate filings, the WSJ report said the authorities have also frozen some assets held by the company, its founder Ma Xiaohong and some of her relatives and associates.
The U.S. Justice Department is reportedly preparing to announce as early as this week legal action against Chinese firms that are providing financial support to North Korea.
China, as North Korea’s strongest political ally and economic lifeline, was angered by its neighbor’s recent display of force just miles from Beijing’s borders.
It agreed to UN Security Council sanctions in March but since then has been seen as not doing enough to tighten economic pressure on North Korea as punishment for the missile tests.
The U.S. has been actively pushing for China to rein in North Korea and in a recent statement responding to China’s relatively muted response to the tests, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Beijing had an “important responsibility” in North Korea.