CHINA / National

China: No need to resume talks without DPRK
Updated: 2006-07-26 12:24

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 drug-running.

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 Tuesday.

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 counter-productive.

"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 Korean peninsula.

The missile tests brought world condemnation upon the country.

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 six-party discussion.