Nightly News   |  April 13, 2013

China to try to rein in ally North Korea

In Beijing, John Kerry tried to persuade China's President Xi Jinping to lean on his ally, North Korea - arguing that Pyongyang's erratic young leader is now threatening the stability of the entire region. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> from a newtown mother as another republican senator comes out in support of expanded background checks and the leg s legacy of a pioneering athlete. our look at the life and times of jackie robinson . from nbc world headquarters in new york. this is "nightly news" with lester holt .

>> captions paid for by nbc - universal television hello, as we speak, dawn has begun in north korea . in an important new development, china has agreed to step in the middle and try to reign in north korea 's threats and their nuclear goals. that came after a meeting with john kerry , he has been trying to dial back tensions. nbc 's andrea michigan tchell is traveling with the secretary, she has more.

>> reporter: good evening, secretary kerry claims success in getting china to join the u.s. in urging north korea to change course. in beijing, john kerry tried to persuade china to lean on this ally.

>> mr. president, this is obviously a critical time with some very challenging issuings. in meetings with all of china 's top officials kerry won their commitment to get north korea to abandon their threats.

>> china is firmly committed to upholding peace, and stability.

>> kerry claimed that china 's promise for joint action with the u.s. is unprecedented.

>> we will bear down with discussion at senior level to fill out what steps we can take together to make sure that this is not receipt ruk.

>> but he got a lot of push back as well. china resents the recent show of course. the missiles on war ships. the u.s. would reconsider the missile defenses.

>> did you discuss with them also the possibility that some of the recent deployments of anti-missile defenses, might be redeployed or stood down, if they were to change their behavior?

>> if the threat disappears, ie, north korea denuclearizes, the same threat is not there for us to have that kind of robust forward leaning posture of defense.

>> despite the promises, expert doubt that china will pressure north korea even as it grows frustrated with kim jong -un's threats.

>> reporter: u.s. officials say that china is already tightening its purse strings regarding north korea , but not enough to get them to end the crisis and back down. lester?

>> andrea, what is china seeing as the interest to help diffuse tensions.

>> reporter: china wants stability and the argument here from kerry to the chinese leader, the argument is that it's more destabilizing to go along with your long-term ally, north korea , that sa bigger there the to this region than the american military presence. china , resents, and wants that buffer of north korea between china and the american allies of south korea and japan, but the argument now is that kim jong -un is so unstable that they should put up with america to get him to tone it down.