US envoy holds talks on North Korea in Beijing

Thursday, January 6, 2011

BEIJING - The US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth Thursday held talks with top officials in Beijing.

The Chinese foreign ministry said after the discussions that China and the US wanted to restart international talks with North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme as soon as possible.

North Korea abandoned the six-party talks in April 2009 after the UN imposed sanctions over a missile test. The talks comprise the Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia.

During his visit, Bosworth met the director of the international department of the Central Committee Wang Jiarui, China’s North Korea negotiator Wu Dawei and Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun. Bosworth did not address the media.

The US has been pressuring China to use its considerable influence on North Korea.

Tension rose sharply on the Korean Peninsula following March’s sinking of a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors, which Seoul blamed on the North, and an artillery assault on a South Korean island near a disputed maritime area in November that left four people dead.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not directly mention North Korea’s latest offer to the South of talks but said that China welcomed every contact and dialogue between the affected parties.

Seoul Thursday rejected Pyongyang’s offer of talks as “not serious”.

Pyongyang’s proposal Wednesday came days after it said in a New Year’s message that it wanted to reduce tensions with the South. The same message also warned of a “nuclear holocaust” if there is another war on the Korean Peninsula.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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