CHINA / National

China to send talks envoy to North Korea
Updated: 2006-07-06 18:36

China's top negotiator on the North Korean nuclear crisis will accompany Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on a visit to Pyongyang next week, a Chinese Foreign Ministry offical said on Thursday.

A day after North Korea test-fired missiles, which triggered a flurry of diplomatic initiatives, China said Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei would be part of the delegation to Pyongyang.

Wu, who headed negotiations for Beijing at the last round of talks between the Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and Russia, would also hold talks with visiting US envoy Christopher Hill, who was due in Beijing on Friday.

"North Korea's firing of missiles has no relationship with China," spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters. "We hope to ease diplomatic tensions through diplomatic efforts and resolve problems through dialogue and consultation."

The meetings come as China grapples with pressure from Washington over North Korea's test-firing of several missiles, including a long-range missile.

Hui is due to head to North Korea on July 10 to mark the 45th anniversary of a Sino-North Korean friendship treaty. The trip will go ahead despite North Korea's missile tests on Wednesday.

But Jiang gave no sign that China was retreating from its position that negotiation can defuse conflicts between Pyongyang and the West through the so-called six-party talks.

Those talks have stalled since November, as North Korea resists US's financial restrictions against its alleged currency counterfeiting and other illicit activities. 

"It's precisely at this time of difficulty that we hope all sides will adopt a pragmatic and flexible attitude to appropriately resolve their mutual problems and concerns, and create conditions for reviving the six-party talks," Jiang said.