China has recently joined with other countries in condemning North Korea for a failed missile launch earlier this month. It was a rare public rebuke of its internationally isolated ally, leading many to closely scrutinize whether Beijing’s policies toward Pyongyang are shifting.
This week U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said China has provided some assistance to North Korea’s missile program, possibly violating U.N. sanctions on the country.
Beijing has denied the allegations, but Panetta says that China must do more to bring North Korea to the negotiating table.
"We've made very clear to China that China has a responsibility here to make sure that North Korea -- if they want to improve the situation with their people, if they want to become a part of the international family, if they, in fact, want to deal with the terrible issues that are confronting North Korea, there's a way to do that," he said. "And China ought to be urging them to engage in those kinds of diplomatic negotiations. We thought we were making some progress and suddenly we're back at provocation."
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