The United States is pressing China to enforce the UN punishment of its ally North Korea ahead of the US secretary of state's visit to Asia for talks meant to ease tensions among countries on edge over the North's claimed nuclear test.
The chief US diplomat, Condoleezza Rice, travels to the region Tuesday as sharp divisions arise over enforcing the UN Security Council's resolution. China, which voted Saturday for the UN penalties, is balking at cargo inspections to prevent trafficking of certain banned weapons and technology.
"I'm quite certain that China is going to live up to its responsibilities," Rice said Sunday, adding she was willing to have "conversations" during her trip on how best to enforce the resolution.
The United States' UN ambassador portrayed North Korea's detonation last week as a public humiliation for China, which shares a long border with North Korea and is the North's chief ally and supplier of crucial shipments of food and energy aid.