BEIJING - Chinese and US diplomats met Wednesday in an effort to help restart
nuclear talks with North Korea, while a US official said banking sanctions on
the North were a law enforcement matter, suggesting a breakthrough was unlikely.
The developments came amid a flurry of diplomatic activity following the
North's agreement last week to end a yearlong boycott of Chinese-organized talks
aimed at ending its nuclear program. No date has been set for the talks, which
also include the United States, Russia, South Korea and Japan.
"We're very interested in talking about what we can do to defuse the problem
of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and to work together, China and the United
States, toward achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," said US
Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns at the start of a meeting with Dai
Bingguo, a deputy Chinese foreign minister.
Burns and Robert Joseph, a US undersecretary of state for arms control, met
earlier with another Chinese deputy foreign minister, Yang Jiechi. No details
were immediately released. Burns was due to meet later with Chinese Foreign
Minister Li Zhaoxing.
Burns and Joseph were in Seoul on Tuesday and earlier visited Tokyo to
coordinate strategy for renewed nuclear talks.
South Korean media said a North Korean deputy foreign minister, Kang Sok Ju,
visited Beijing on Tuesday and left for Moscow after talks with Chinese Foreign
The Foreign Ministry didn't immediately respond to a
request to confirm the report.