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Kim Jong-il Meets Chinese FM
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Kim Jong-il, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), yesterday urged the countries involved in a pact committing Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear program to follow through on their initial pledges.

He made the remarks during a meeting with visiting Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who conveyed greetings from President Hu Jintao.

"Recently, there have been signs that the situation on the Korean Peninsula has eased," Kim told Yang.

Kim said, "all the parties should implement the initial actions" of the disarmament agreement reached in February. The preliminary steps include the shutdown of the DPRK's main reactor in exchange for economic aid.

Yang also called for the "full implementation" of the existing agreements on the nuclear issue.

He expressed hope that all parties will "continue to take positive steps, fulfill their commitments and take initial actions in a comprehensive and balanced manner so as to push forward the Six-Party Talks."

Kim said China has worked hard towards the resolution of the nuclear issue and the DPRK hopes to continue to communicate and coordinate with China on the matter.

Yang also discussed the February agreement with his DPRK counterpart Pak Ui-chun, and both sides agreed to make efforts to implement it, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news briefing.

Yang "expressed China's consistent stance on using peaceful means and consultation and dialogue to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue".

Yang's trip - his first since taking up the post in April - comes after Pyongyang reaffirmed its pledge last week to shut down its Yongbyon reactor following the resolution of a banking dispute between Pyongyang and Washington.

Kim Jong-il (R1), top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), meets with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (L2), in Pyongyang, capital of DPRK, July 3, 2007.

Olli Heinonen, the deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), wrapped up a five-day visit to the DPRK Saturday that included a tour of the Yongbyon facility. Heinonen said he reached a tentative agreement with Pyongyang on how the agency will verify and monitor Yongbyon's closure.

A report by Heinonen made available yesterday to The Associated Press says that the DPRK is willing to provide the agency experts with necessary technical information, access, and other help needed to shut down the nuclear facilities.

The report will be discussed by the IAEA's 35-nation board, expected to approve it as early as Monday, paving the way for the beginning of the mission overseeing the shutdown and eventual dismantling of the Yongbyon facility.

Qin said China would consult the other nations involved on the date for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, not held since March. US nuclear envoy Christopher Hill had said earlier the talks might be scheduled during the second week of July.

Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Studies of Renmin University of China, noted that ties between Washington and Pyongyang have improved recently. "Given the favorable conditions, I believe Yang's visit will facilitate the resumption of the Six-Party Talks," he said.

Pyongyang is the second leg of Yang's three-nation tour. He is slated to leave Pyongyang today for Indonesia.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency July 4, 2007)

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