Presidents Obama and Xi agree on North Korean denuclearization

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about North Korea during last week's informal talks, agreeing that North Korea must denuclearize, the U.S. Defense Department said on Saturday.

National Security Advisor Tom Donilon spoke to reporters after the two presidents talked North Korea, cybersecurity and other issues in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Donilon said President Obama had very good discussions with President Xi that were positive, wide-ranging, constructive and successful.

"(A specific goal of the talks was) to build a personal relationship between the President and President Xi, and have an opportunity not under the pressure of being on the margins of another multilateral meeting to really sit down and explore the contours of the U.S.-China relationship," Donilon said.

During dinner on Friday, Presidents Obama and Xi discussed North Korea at length. China took several steps in recent months to send a message to North Korea, including enhanced sanctions and public statements by the senior leadership.

"(Presidents Obama and Xi) agreed that North Korea has to denuclearize; that neither country will accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state; and that we would work together to deepen U.S.-China cooperation and dialogue to achieve denuclearization," Donilon said.

Donilon said the two sides absolutely agreed that they should work together to achieve their goals of a denuclearized North Korea.

"The two sides stressed the importance of continuing to apply pressure both to halt North Korea's ability to proliferate and to make clear that its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is incompatible with its economic development goals," Donilon said. "The discussions on this issue, I believe, will allow us to continue to move ahead and work in a careful way in terms of our cooperation to work together to achieve our ends."

Presidents Obama and Xi also discussed economic issues, cybersecurity and their military-to-military relationship.