China, US meet to restart nuclear talks

Updated: 2006-11-08 17:38

BEIJING - Chinese and US diplomats met Wednesday in an effort to help restart nuclear talks with North Korea, while a US official said banking sanctions on the North were a law enforcement matter, suggesting a breakthrough was unlikely.

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The developments came amid a flurry of diplomatic activity following the North's agreement last week to end a yearlong boycott of Chinese-organized talks aimed at ending its nuclear program. No date has been set for the talks, which also include the United States, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

"We're very interested in talking about what we can do to defuse the problem of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and to work together, China and the United States, toward achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," said US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns at the start of a meeting with Dai Bingguo, a deputy Chinese foreign minister.

Burns and Robert Joseph, a US undersecretary of state for arms control, met earlier with another Chinese deputy foreign minister, Yang Jiechi. No details were immediately released. Burns was due to meet later with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

Burns and Joseph were in Seoul on Tuesday and earlier visited Tokyo to coordinate strategy for renewed nuclear talks.

South Korean media said a North Korean deputy foreign minister, Kang Sok Ju, visited Beijing on Tuesday and left for Moscow after talks with Chinese Foreign Ministry officials.

The Foreign Ministry didn't immediately respond to a request to confirm the report.

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