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Top South Korean official to visit China
Updated: 2004-12-19 17:10

South Korea's unification minister will visit China this week as a special envoy of President Roh Moo-hyun for talks on North Korea's nuclear program, officials said Sunday.

Chung Dong-young, who is also chairman of the standing committee of South Korea's National Security Council, is expected to meet Vice President Wu Bangguo, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and other officials during his four-day visit that begins Tuesday.

Chung is expected to discuss "ways to increase friendly ties between South Korea and China, (and discuss) the North Korean nuclear issue and other pending issues," Chung's office said in a press release.

Efforts are underway to reopen the six-party nuclear talks involving the United States, Russia, China, Japan and the two Koreas aimed at convincing North Korea to scrap its nuclear weapons program.

The planned fourth round of negotiations in September never happened because the North refused to attend. No progress was made in the three earlier rounds of talks.

North Korea says it will abandon its nuclear weapons development if the United States provides economic aid and security guarantees, including a peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Washington has demanded an immediate dismantling of all the North's nuclear activities.

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