U.S. and China will work together to mitigate North Korean nuclear threat

Leaders from the U.S. and China will work in tandem to determine what the two governments must do to eliminate North Korea's nuclear program, a White House senior official said on Tuesday.

The senior official made the statement as part of a background conference call on President Barack Obama's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. The bilateral meeting was scheduled to take place in California on Friday afternoon with some additional discussions scheduled for Saturday. Senior White House officials responded to questions on the state of discussions with North Korea over the country's nuclear program.

One official said the main security threat from the Asia-Pacific region is North Korea's attempt to obtain a nuclear weapon.

"The key driver of instability and the principal threat from the region is the North Korea continued dogged pursuit of a nuclear weapon and a ballistic missile capability," the official said. "The challenge for the two leaders undoubtedly will be to identify more specifically the areas of shared concerns and the range of actions that the two governments acting in tandem can take to try to mitigate that threat by halting, rolling back, and verifiably eliminating North Korea's nuclear program."

After a recent visit to China by a North Korean envoy, the North Korean government continued to repudiate denuclearization, despite being obligated to denuclearize under the U.N. Security Council resolutions. The starting point in negotiations for both President Obama and President Jinping is the stability and security in the region, which begins with denuclearization.