China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have held
"in-depth" discussions on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Foreign
Ministry said on Thursday, October 19. [Full coverage on N.Korea
A special envoy of President Hu Jintao, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, met
DPRK leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang yesterday morning, spokesman Liu Jianchao
told a regular news briefing.
China's State Councillor Tang
Jiaxuan (3rd L, front row), special envoy of Chinese President Hu
Jintao, poses with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (4th R, front row)
in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this video grab released on October 19,
2006. The United States said on Thursday it was open to negotiations with
North Korea over its nuclear ambitions as attention focused on whether
China had managed to persuade the North to defuse the mounting crisis.
"The two sides had an in-depth
exchange of views on China-DPRK relations and the current situation on the
Korean Peninsula," Liu said.
The meeting was of "great significance" as it was held in the backdrop of the
peninsula undergoing major changes, he said, referring to the nuclear test
conducted by the DPRK on October 9.
The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution last weekend
imposing sanctions against the DPRK, which include a call to inspect cargo on
ships sailing to and from the DPRK.
"Tang's visit to the DPRK is extremely important for bilateral ties and the
current situation on the peninsula," Liu said.
Responding to reports that claimed the Six-Party Talks could end following
the nuclear test, Liu said China is still "full of hope" that the talks could
Tang delivered a message from President Hu to Kim on the nuclear issue,
according to the spokesman, who did not reveal the content.
Tang arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday, accompanied by Vice-Foreign Minister
Wu Dawei, who is also China's top negotiator at the stalled Six-Party Talks, and
Dai Bingguo, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Communist Party of
China Central Committee.
Prior to meeting Kim, Tang, as the president's special envoy, met US
President George W. Bush in Washington and Russian President Vladimir Putin in
Moscow last week.
There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in response to the DPRK's
In Seoul, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Republic of Korea (ROK)
Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, who warned earlier yesterday that a second DPRK
nuclear test would trigger a "much more serious" global response.
Ban, slated to be the next UN secretary-general, also said Pyongyang should
not make further moves that would "aggravate the situation."
The ROK's Yonhap news agency reported that Seoul would bolster inspections of
cargo heading to the DPRK and halt subsidies to a joint tourism project in the
Rice and Ban called on the DPRK to return unconditionally to the Six-Party
Talks, which also include China, Japan and Russia. However, Rice said real
progress would have to be made if the talks were to resume.
"The US has no desire to do anything to escalate the situation," Rice said.
"We want to leave open the path of negotiation, we don't want the crisis to
escalate." She is expected to arrive in Beijing today.