CHINA / National

Chinese delegation kicks off DPRK tour
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-11 06:24

A Chinese delegation pledged friendship and deeper ties with Pyongyang Monday as Beijing sought to encourage its neighbour back into nuclear disarmament talks.

Amid China's efforts to help ease tensions caused by the missile tests of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan backed away Monday from its insistence that the UN Security Council should vote on its proposal for sanctions against Pyongyang.

Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, China's chief negotiator of the Six-Party Talks, arrived in Pyongyang as part of a goodwill delegation led by Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu to celebrate the 45th anniversary of a friendship treaty between China and the DPRK, the Foreign Ministry said.

A DPRK delegation was expected to arrive in China today to mark the anniversary. Meanwhile, top leaders of the two countries exchanged congratulatory messages over the treaty, Xinhua News Agency said.

The Chinese message was addressed to the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il from President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Wu Bangguo, the country's top legislator.

The Chinese Government has not said whether Wu or Hui, who will stay in Pyongyang for six days, will bring up the issue of the six-nation nuclear talks. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu revealed last week that China was "making assiduous efforts" in pushing for a resumption of the negotiations.

Talks have been deadlocked since November because of a boycott by Pyongyang in protest of a crackdown by Washington on its alleged money-laundering and other financial crimes.

The Chinese delegation visit has attracted much attention amid the rush of diplomatic exchanges that have taken place since the DPRK's missile tests last week.

Considering the Chinese move, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said yesterday Japan would not insist on a vote on a UN Security Council resolution, proposed by Japan, that would impose sanctions on Pyongyang for test-launching missiles.

The United States, Britain and France have expressed support for the Japanese proposal to the United Nations to slap sanctions on Pyongyang. But China and Russia both permanent Security Council members with the power to veto UN actions have voiced opposition to the resolution.

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing "exchanged views" by phone on Sunday with his counterparts from 11 council members and the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

He stressed that "any action should be conducive to maintaining the peace and stability in the region and the unity of the Security Council," the statement said.

Despite the opposition, Japan had initially showed no signs of backing away from the UN resolution.

Nine of the 15 votes on the council would have been needed to pass the resolution, which would bar the transfer of financial resources connected to Pyongyang's nuclear programme.


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