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Six-Party Talks: China, N Korea, US Negotiators Meet in Beijing
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Chief negotiators from China, North Korea and the United States met in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss resuming the six-party talks concerning the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press conference in Beijing on the same day.

China's chief negotiator, Wu Dawei, his North Korean counterpart Kim Kye-gwan and US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill held bilateral and trilateral meetings.

The negotiators are gathering to try and set a date and prepare for the resumption of the talks. However, the exact date for the resumption remained undecided, Jiang said.

Japanese chief negotiator Kenichiro Sasae and South Korean top negotiator Chun Yung-woo arrived in Beijing on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Jiang added no information was forthcoming as to whether the top Russian negotiator would come.

Wu, who is also Vice Foreign Minister, on Monday met with negotiators of Japan and South Korea.

A spokesman of the US embassy in Beijing also confirmed Hill had met Wu and his South Korean counterpart Chun Yung Woo on Tuesday morning.

Hill told reporters at Beijing Capital International Airport upon arrival that the US side was "prepared to meet with North Korean officials".

Last week, Hill came to Beijing and met with Wu Dawei at which time both men agreed to make joint efforts to restart the talks.

Late Tuesday evening, Hill and Kim did not speak to the media as they separately left the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse where the meetings were held.

Officials have yet to set a date for the next round of negotiations; and Kim said the timing would depend on the United States. There are too many outstanding issues and both parties should narrow their differences, Kim told reporters on arrival at Beijing airport.

"I said on October 31 that we could enter the talks at any time," he said. "I said that since we able to do this from a dignified position as we have taken defensive measures through our nuclear test to counter sanctions and pressure against us."

An unannounced meeting between Hill and Kim last month in Beijing led to Pyongyang agreeing to return to the arms negotiations amidst heightened tensions following its October 9 nuclear test.

The six-party talks, involving China, North Korea, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan, are aimed at finding a solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

Jiang called upon all parties to adopt a "flexible and pragmatic approach" and work toward early resumption of the talks amidst concerted efforts towards progress.

"China will continuously consult with other parties to create favorable conditions for the full implementation of the joint statement," Jiang said.

Jiang also reiterated China's consistent and firm position on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, saying Beijing resolutely opposes proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Commenting on the African Union summit's upcoming discussions on Darfur, Jiang said the developments in Darfur are at a critical juncture.

China appreciated the diplomatic efforts from all parties concerned, and hoped candid communication in a steady and pragmatic manner would lead to consensus, Jiang said.

She also voiced her hope that all parties will maintain the momentum of dialogue, respecting all views involved, thus leading to a settlement at an early date, in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

Six northeastern African leaders, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, held a six-way summit last Tuesday in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, calling for peaceful settlement of regional issues including the strife in Sudan's western Darfur region.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart George W. Bush on Monday held a phone conversation, discussing among other subjects the Darfur issue.

Earlier on Tuesday, President Al-Bashir again refused to allow international peacekeepers into Darfur, saying their deployment would lead to re-colonization of the country.

On the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Jiang said "As a friend of the DRC, we feel happy to see a successful presidential election which marks a key progress toward peace in the DRC."

Chinese President Hu Jintao has sent a message to his DRC counterpart Joseph Kabila congratulating him on his victory in the presidential election, according to the spokeswoman.

"We believe the DRC government and people will continuously make progress in maintaining long-term social stability and prosperity under the leadership of President Kabila", Jiang said.

The DRC Supreme Court rejected Monday a challenge posed by Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba on the presidential election result and confirmed that incumbent President Joseph Kabila was the winner of the Oct. 29 run-off.

Referring to the Ecuadorian presidential election, Jiang said that China believes the new government of Ecuador can realize a smooth handover.

"We have noticed the second-round of presidential race in Ecuador and we believe the state power of Ecuador can lead its people to make progress in maintaining national interests and promoting economic and social development." Jiang said.

The second-round presidential vote ended last Sunday. The left-wing presidential candidate Rafael Correa stormed ahead of his right-wing rival with 68.28 percent of the vote. The winner will take office on Jan. 15, as the 44th president of Ecuador.

Also on Tuesday, Jiang said that China welcomes the mutual ceasefire by Israel and Palestine in Gaza.

"The announcement marks a positive step in easing the tension of this region." We hope the two sides can seize the opportunity and resume peace talks at an early date."

According to the announcement, Israel shall cease hostilities on Sunday morning and pull out from Gaza, while the Palestinians shall prevent missile attacks at the Israeli territory.

On state visit, President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos will pay a state visit to China from Dec. 4 to 8 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Jiang announced.


(Xinhua News Agency China Daily November 29, 2006)


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