China believes there is no point in reconvening multi-lateral talks
over North Korea's nuclear-weapons ambitions unless the country takes part, a
senior Chinese foreign ministry official said.
China and others hope to renew the long-stalled talks with North Korea this
week on the sidelines of a global security forum in Malaysia, where all six
parties engaged on the issue will be represented, including U.S. Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice.
The six-party talks -- comprising the two Koreas, the United States, China,
Japan and Russia -- stalled last November after North Korea objected to a U.S.
crackdown on firms it suspects of aiding Pyongyang in counterfeiting and
But missile tests by North Korea earlier this month renewed worries about
Pyongyang's nuclear plans.
All parties except North Korea have expressed willingness to meet on the
fringe of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
"As to the form that this meeting takes, all sides are open. As long as the
six foreign ministers can meet, everyone would welcome it," Wu Dawei, China's
front-man on the North Korean issue, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur late on
A six-way meeting could take place on Friday, he said.
Some parties, such as Japan and the United States, have suggested talks could
still go ahead without North Korea this week, but China said felt this would be
"I feel that it's best not to have a five-side meeting because this will make
for more difficulties in the six-party talks," Wu told reporters.
The five other parties want the North to give up its ambition to develop
nuclear weapons. Their concerns were heightened on July 5 when North Korea
defied international warnings and fired seven missiles into waters east of the
The missile tests brought world condemnation upon
Wu said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing would have a one-on-one meeting
with his North Korean counterpart during the event in the Malaysian capital, and
he hoped Rice could also hold a bilateral meeting with Paek Nam-sun.
Rice is reported to be willing to meet North Korea's Paek as part of a