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Resumption of Six-Party Talks Agreed
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The six-party talks on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue are to restart soon according to a source from the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing Tuesday.

At China's invitation delegation leaders to the talks from China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States (US) had an informal meeting on Tuesday in Beijing, said the source.

"The three parties agreed that the six-party talks be held soon at a time convenient to all,” the source said. The contact added that the three heads had a "candid" and "in-depth" exchange of views on continuing efforts to advance the talks.

The six-party talks on the issue have remained stalled since the previous meeting in Beijing last November. The last round of discussions involving China, the DPRK, the US, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan ended with a chairman's statement in which the participants agreed to resume talks as soon as possible.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Tuesday the most pressing task was the resumption of talks at an early date and the establishment of a nuclear weapons free Korean peninsula. "We'd like to maintain consultations with the relevant parties during the process," Liu said.

The DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test on October 9 triggering protests from the international community and complicating the Korean nuclear issue. Since the test China has been engaged in a diplomatic campaign. President Hu Jintao held talks with US President George W. Bush exchanging views on the nuclear test by telephone.

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan went to the US and Russia on October 11 as Hu's special envoy. Later Tang visited the DPRK also as special envoy and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il met with Tang on October 19. During the meeting Tang conveyed a message from President Hu to Kim.

ROK President Roh Moo-hyun visited China and the leaders of the two countries agreed to work more closely on the issue.

US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice visited China on October 20-21 and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said there was "no other choice but diplomacy" when addressing the Korean peninsula nuclear issue.

Jin Linbo, of the China Institute of International Studies, welcomed the resumption of the six-party talks pointing out that it was a positive step to avoid escalation of the crisis and peacefully solve the Korean nuclear crisis.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)

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