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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 the invitation of China, the heads of delegations to the talks from China, North Korea and the US had an informal meeting in Beijing Tuesday, said the source.

"The three parties agreed that the six-party talks be held soon at a time convenient to the six parties," the source said.

The source said the three heads had a "candid" and "in-depth" exchange of views on continuing efforts to advance the process of the talks.

The six-party talks on Korean nuclear issue have remained stalled since the last round meeting in Beijing last November.

The last round of talks, involving China, North and South Korea, the US, Russia and Japan, ended with a chairman's statement, in which the parties agreed to resume talks as soon as possible.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao said on Tuesday that the most pressing task was the resumption of talks at an early date and the establishment of a nuclear weapons free Korean peninsula.

"We would like to maintain consultations with the relevant parties during the process," Liu said.

North Korea 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 phone talks with US President George W. Bush, exchanging views on the North Korea's nuclear test.

State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan headed to the US and Russia October 11 as Hu's special envoy. Later Tang visited North Korea also as Hu's special envoy, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with Tang on October 19. During the meeting Tang conveyed a message from President Hu to Kim.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun visited China, where the leaders of the two countries agreed to work more closely on the issue.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited China from October 20 to 21 and 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 it's a positive step to avoid the escalating of the crisis and peacefully solve the Korean nuclear crisis.

(Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)

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