Updated at: 02/22/2013 5:38 AM
(AP) BEIJING - The U.N. deputy chief said Friday he hoped that China would exercise its influence over North Korea to bring Pyongyang back to talks and discourage the regime from further escalating tensions after it conducted a nuclear test last week.
Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told reporters in Beijing that he was confident that Chinese officials were communicating to Pyongyang their concerns about the nuclear test.
"There is hope from the outside world that China could exert that influence ... that China could have a positive influence on developments now, at least in the direction of de-escalation but also to convey the message to the leadership in DPRK how dangerous this development could be," Eliasson said, using the initials of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Chinese officials who met with him expressed that "they will do what they can but that we should not exaggerate their influence" over the North, Eliasson said.
China is seen as the only major power with any real influence on North Korea as it pursues nuclear weapons. It provides most of North Korea’s fuel, a good deal of its food and accounts for an increasing share of its trade and investment.
But despite recurring nuclear and missile tests by Pyongyang, Beijing has been reluctant to take unilateral action against a neighbor it sees as a valuable buffer between U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and Japan.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)