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N Korea at crossroads

US and South Korea omit 'denuclearization' from joint statement

Seoul affirms importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan

Left to right, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, and South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook pose before "two-plus-two" talks in Seoul on Thursday.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday urged China to use its influence over North Korea to push the isolated nation to denuclearize.

"China has a critical role to play in working to convince North Korea to pursue denuclearization," Blinken told reporters in Seoul. "China has a unique relationship with North Korea. Virtually all of North Korea's economic relationships is its trade with China ... so it has tremendous influence, and I think it has a shared interest in making sure that we do something about North Korea's nuclear program and about the increasingly dangerous ballistic missile program."

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