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China to send envoy to North Korea
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 10 - 02 - 2005


China is sending a top communist party
official to North Korea this week, the government said
Thursday, amid renewed efforts to get Beijing's longtime
ally to resume stalled talks on its nuclear weapons
program.
Top negotiators from the United States and South Korea
were in Beijing seeking China's help on persuading the
isolated North to return to multination nuclear talks that
were suspended in June.
South Korean officials said they believed China, the
North's biggest backer and a major source of aid to the
impoverished country, could do more to win over the North.
"I think China has a much bigger card to play than we
expect. The question is whether it will play it, " South
Korea's ambassador to China, Kim Ha-joong, said at a news
conference Thursday in Seoul.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan confirmed that Wang
Jiarui, head of the communist party's international
department, would visit Pyongyang this week.
Kong, speaking at a regular news briefing, would not
provide dates.
While working to resolve the standoff, "The Chinese side
requires that the DPRK side and United States show more
flexibility and sincerity," Kong said, using the acronym
for the North's formal name: the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea.
Christopher Hill, the new U.S. negotiator assigned to
getting the North to abandon its nuclear program, arrived
Thursday for a one-day visit.
"This is my first visit to China and I don't think it
will be my last," Hill told Wu Dawei, a Chinese deputy
foreign minister. Hill was due to meet with Wu's boss,
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, later in the day.
Hill, who is also U.S. ambassador to South Korea, is just
beginning to make the rounds after being appointed head of
the American delegation to the North Korea talks on Monday.
South Korea's deputy foreign minister, Song Min-soon, also
traveled to Beijing for talks with his Chinese
counterparts.
"I came to China to reopen the six-nation talks as soon
as possible and thus settle the nuclear issue smoothly,"
Song said when asked about his expectations for his visit.
Speaking in Seoul, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban
Ki-moon said Thursday China has told his government it
plans to take "other initiatives" apart from sending Wang
to Pyongyang.


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