US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice applauded China's role in restarting six-party talks during her recent visit to Beijing. Experts also attributed the resumption of talks to diplomatic endeavors by all parties.
China has played a "very active" role in reinstating six-party nuclear talks, which Rice considers "an important first step" to settling the issue and realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
Rice made the remarks at a press conference held at the US embassy in Beijing after her separate talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and her Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing on Sunday morning.
China has been mediating the nuclear dispute between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) since 2003. It has hosted several rounds of China-DPRK-US negotiations and the six-party talks in Beijing.
The first round of six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, the US, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan, was launched on August 27, 2003 at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in downtown Beijing.
But after the third round, the DPRK pulled out citing the US' policy of hostility.
On Saturday, the DPRK announced that it has agreed to participate in a fourth round of six-party talks in the week beginning July 25. The announcement was made after a reported secret meeting between diplomats of the two countries in Beijing.
"I think the Chinese have played a very active role in showing North Korea what the path ahead might look like," Rice said, considering it "a very good thing" for the DPRK to come back to the talks.
When the DPRK announced in February this year that it was suspending its participation in the talks, Wang Jiarui, head of the CPC Central Committee International Department, sent a message to the DPRK's leader Kim Jong-il.
Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan is also scheduled to visit the DPRK from July 12 to 14 as a special envoy of President Hu Jintao, one week before the expected fourth round of nuclear talks.
(Xinhua News Agency July 11, 2005)