CHINA / National

China offers new proposal over DPRK talks
Updated: 2006-07-04 10:56

China has offered a new proposal over the stalled six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, a news report said Monday.

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan told Ichiro Ozawa, the head of Japan's main opposition party, that China had relayed the proposal to the countries involved in the talks, Kyodo News agency reported, citing party officials.

The report did not elaborate on the new proposal, but quoted the officials as saying the initial reaction from countries had been good.

Repeated calls to party headquarters in Tokyo went unanswered late Monday. A duty officer who answered the phone at the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman's office also said he could not confirm the Japanese report.

Ozawa, a veteran lawmaker of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, is in Beijing for a six-day visit at the invitation of Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi. The Japanese politician may also meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, according to Kyodo.

Pyongyang has refused to return to talks over its nuclear ambitions, which also

involve South Korea, the United States and Russia, due to anger over U.S. financial restrictions imposed for the country's alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.

Tensions have also escalated in recent weeks over a possible missile launch by North Korea.

At talks with other Chinese officials in Beijing, Ozawa agreed to work toward mending ties between Beijing and Tokyo, Kyodo said.

Ozawa agreed with Wang Jiarui, a senior Communist Party official, that Japan and China should try to overcome current difficulties in their relations, according to Kyodo.

"A large proportion of the Japanese people want friendship and cooperation," Ozawa was quoted by Kyodo as saying.

Relations between the neighbors have plunged to their lowest in decades due to disputes over territory and rights to undersea gas deposits.

The two are also at odds over interpretations of Japan's wartime conquest of China and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's repeated visits to a Tokyo war shrine critics say glorifies Japan's past militarism.

Ozawa has said he is opposed to Koizumi's visits because the shrine honors convicted war criminals.


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