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US, Japan and allies to set strategy on North Korea

The United States will host high-level talks on Monday with allies South Korea and Japan to forge a strategy for dealing with a volatile nuclear-armed North Korea amid allied shows of military force.

The talks hosted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton follow North Korea’s deadly bombardment of a South Korean border island on November 23, which triggered days of US-South Korean war games in the Yellow Sea.

Meanwhile, South Korea threatened to hit back with air strikes at the North if there is a new assault, and the largest ever US-Japan war games kicked off Friday in waters off the tense Korean peninsula.

The allied muscle-flexing and Clinton’s planned talks with foreign ministers Kim Sung-hwan of South Korea and Seiji Maehara of Japan expose the isolation of China, which has taken a softer approach to reining in its ally in Pyongyang.

The United States, South Korea and Japan all refused China’s invitation for them and Russia to hold emergency six-party talks in Beijing after North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong island, killing two civilians and two marines.

The five countries, plus North Korea, make up the long-stalled six-party talks aimed at scrapping Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programs.

Washington, Seoul and Tokyo oppose a return to the negotiations until Pyongyang shows it is serious about disarmament.

Read the rest of the story: US, key Asian allies to forge strategy on N.Korea.