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Powell, Li discuss North Korea nuclear issue
( 2003-07-16 15:59) (chinadaily.com.cn)

China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and US Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the North Korean nuclear crisis on Wednesday in the latest sign of Beijing's push to renew talks.

The two leaders agreed to keep contact and exert efforts to further the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relationship in the phone conversation, Xinhua news agency reports.

Diplomats say China is pushing a compromise format for talks that it hopes will satisfy Washington and Pyongyang and bring them back to the table after an initial round of talks in Beijing yielded little.

Pyongyang demands talks with Washington before broader negotiations while the United States is calling for multilateral discussions, preferably expanded to include South Korea and Japan.

To break the impasse, Beijing supports a multilateral framework for the negotiations that would allow for bilateral meetings on the sidelines, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official told a briefing for Western diplomats on Tuesday.

On Monday, Kim Jong Il, the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) met with Dai Bingguo, the visiting Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, who is also a special envoy of the Chinese government.

They had "in-depth discussion on issues of mutual concern", according to a Chinese delegate.

Dai conveyed Kim a personal letter from President Hu Jintao, according to the People's Daily.

Dai also had talks with Kim Yong Nam, the president of Supreme People's Assembly, and Paek Nam Sun, the foreign minister of DPRK, before he met Kim Jong Il.


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