BEIJING — China and the United States want talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme to resume "as soon as possible", US President Barack Obama said Tuesday after talks with his host Hu Jintao.
"We agreed on the importance of resuming the six-party talks process as soon as possible," Obama said during a joint address by the two leaders to the media after their morning summit.
In April, North Korea quit six-nation talks on dismantling its nuclear programmes. The following month it staged its second atomic weapons test, attracting tougher UN sanctions.
But Pyongyang said recently it was ready to return to the talks, which are hosted by China, provided there was progress in upcoming bilateral discussions with the United States.
Obama said North Korea faced a choice.
"It can continue down the path of confrontation and provocation that has led to less security, less prosperity, and more isolation from the global community, or it can choose to become a full member of the international community," he said.
He added the latter option would allow the North to "give a better life to its people by living up to international obligations and forgoing nuclear weapons".
Hu said China and the United States were "committed to dialogue and consultation in resolving the Korean peninsula nuclear issue.
"The two sides will work with other parties concerned to continue the de-nuclearisation process of the Korean Peninsula and six-party talks process in a bid to uphold peace and stability in Northeast Asia," he said.
The US special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, is to visit Pyongyang by the end of this year to try to bring it back to the negotiating table.
The United States has said it is willing to sit down with North Korea but only if such a meeting is considered part of the six-nation talks that led to the 2005 and 2007 agreements on the North giving up its nuclear weapons.
The joint Sino-US statement issued after Obama and Hu met Tuesday said "the Chinese side welcomed the start of high-level contacts between the United States and the DPRK" -- the initials of North Korea's official name.
"The two sides expressed the hope that the multilateral mechanism of the six-party talks would convene at an early date."
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