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Japan, US agree North Korea must not have nuclear weapons

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.

Japan and the United States cannot allow North Korea to possess nuclear weapons, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishia said Sunday after a meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry, according to Reuters.

Kerry is in Japan on a regional tour aimed at solidifying support for curbing North Korea's nuclear program.

Earlier, he was in Beijing – for the first time as secretary of state – where he sought to persuade President Xi Jinping to rein in North Korea, China's traditional ally, arguing that Pyongyang's erratic young leader, Kim Jong Un, is threatening the stability of the entire region.

Pyongyang has threatened for weeks to attack the United States, South Korea and Japan since new U.N. sanctions were imposed in response to its latest nuclear arms test in February, fuelling speculation of a new missile launch or nuclear test.

"China and the United States must together take steps in order to achieve the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, and today we agreed to have further discussions, to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal," Kerry said Saturday before flying on to Japan, the last stop on his Asian tour.

China's top diplomat echoed the goal, but wasn't specific about how pressure might be applied on North Korea, which had been threatening the United States and its "puppet" South Korea almost daily in recent weeks.

"China is firmly committed to upholding peace and stability and advancing the denuclearization process on the peninsula," Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said.

"We maintain that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation," he added.

Kerry declined to comment on what specifically China may do to push for a peaceful solution on North Korea, saying only that he and Chinese officials had discussed all possibilities.

North Korea has prepped two medium-range Musudan-1 missiles waiting on its east coast, and analysts have said that it might fire one or both as a means for Kim Jong Un -- the founder's grandson -- to save face and appease his military after the weeks of saber-rattling.

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Full North Korea coverage from NBC News

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