China: DPRK will agree to new talks

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Beijing said on Tuesday that it had gained Pyongyang's support for easing regional tensions and attending emergency Six-Party Talks on Korean Peninsula's nuclear program.

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Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that State Councilor Dai Bingguo, who visited the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) last week, reached these important agreements with the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong-il. 

"The DPRK side has agreed with the Chinese proposal for an emergency meeting of the envoys to the Six-Party Talks," Jiang said.

She said Pyongyang spoke highly of Chinese efforts in maintaining the peace and stability on the peninsula and expressed the hope of easing regional tensions.

"Both sides believe the Six-Party Talks process should go forward, and strive to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Jiang said, reiterating the importance and urgency of resolving the issue within the framework of the talks.

She said the two sides re-affirmed the need for all sides to exercise calm and restraint to avoid further escalations.

In another development, Republic of Korea (ROK)'s chief nuclear envoy left for Russia on Tuesday for discussions over tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Wi Sung-lac is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin.

He also plans to brief Russian officials on the outcome of a three-way meeting that the foreign ministers of the ROK, the United States and Japan held in Washington last week to discuss how to deal with the situation.

The three countries expressed reservations over the Chinese proposal for an emergency consultation of the six-way talks.

"This is part of efforts to increase cooperation with Russia at the Six-Party Talks and on the issue of the uranium enrichment program," Wi told the Yonhap News Agency before his departure.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun in Moscow.

Wi's trip came as regional powers have been stepping up diplomacy over the growing tension on the Korean Peninsula.

US Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is to arrive in Beijing on Wednesday, leading a high-level US delegation to coordinate with China on the position on the current tension.

US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and Washington's envoy to the Six-Party Talks Sung Kim are in the delegation. Campbell is scheduled to travel to Japan and Sung Kim to ROK after the Chinese trip.

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