Nuke talks on agenda of Cebu meeting

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-12-07 06:56

Leaders from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are likely to discuss the resumption of Six-Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue at a trilateral meeting in the Philippines next week, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and ROK President Roh Moo-hyun will meet on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit, at which the leaders of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will meet leaders of China, Japan, the ROK, India, New Zealand and Australia in Cebu from December 11 to 13, Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told a news briefing.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed late last month to return to the six-nation talks, but no date has been set.

"China believes the sooner the talks are resumed, the better," Cui said, adding that an early restart of the talks depends on the concerted efforts of all parties.

Cui described the stalled talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula "a derailed train" that "must return to the right track and continue to go ahead."

No such trilateral meeting took place during the first East Asia Summit last year in Kuala Lumpur, because Beijing and Seoul were in a standoff with Tokyo over then-Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of the country's past militarism.

But relations between Beijing and Tokyo have taken a turn for the better after Abe took office in September and visited China the next month.

China and Japan should seize the opportunity and work jointly to improve relations, Cui said, adding that Beijing was "making active efforts" for a bilateral meeting between Abe and Wen.

During the summit between ASEAN and the six other nations on December 13, discussions are set to focus on energy security, officials said.

The leaders will discuss calls, led by Manila, to require diesel and petrol used in the region to have a 20 per cent biofuel component by 2015, according to a senior Philippine energy official.

"Now, everybody is concerned about energy issues," Cui said. "I'm confident that in energy security, the 16 participating countries have a lot of room for co-operation."

He also said China would discuss East Asian co-operation at the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan and ROK), and exchange views on how to build up an East Asian community through the "10 plus 3" mechanism.

Following the summit, Wen is expected to pay an official visit to the Philippines. A series of agreements on trade, infrastructure and cultural-relic protection will be signed, said Cui.

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