CHINA / National

Hu calls for restraint on Korean issue
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-22 06:04

He told reporters that the goal was to include the DPRK at the five-nation gathering on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) annual meeting of foreign ministers in Malaysia. But, he added, the DPRK "does not seem to want to go to six-party meetings right now."

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing is expected to attend the Malaysian meeting to be held between next Wednesday and Friday. It involves foreign ministers of the ASEAN members plus China, Japan and the ROK.

The DPRK has boycotted the six-nation talks since last November. It refused to go back to the negotiation table, accusing the US of imposing economic sanctions for alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.

Observers of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue are cautiously optimistic about whether the proposed five-nation talks will help find a solution to the nuclear standoff.

The so-called five-nation discussions, which leave out the DPRK, could irritate Pyongyong, which might continue to refuse to go back to the negotiation table, said Piao Jianyi, a researcher on the Korean Peninsula issue at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

Professor Jin Xide, also a researcher on international relations at the CASS, said the key to solving the current stalemate on the DPRK nuclear disarmament rests with both Washington and Pyongyang reaching a compromise on the question of economic sanctions.

"If the crucial problem can't be solved, any form of talks is useless," Jin said on Friday.

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