- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

BEIJING (AP) - China’s premier urged North Korea to cooperate with efforts to resume stalled international talks on dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear programs, state media said Thursday, before a meeting between the North’s visiting premier and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The official People’s Daily newspaper said Premier Wen Jiabao told his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Il, during a meeting Wednesday in Beijing, that China wants to “actively push forward” the deadlocked negotiations involving the two Koreas, China, the U.S., Russia and Japan.

Wen also said China is willing to play a constructive role in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the paper said.

Regional powers are looking to China, host of the international talks and North Korea’s biggest benefactor and longtime communist ally, to help calm tensions in the region and return Pyongyang to the negotiating table.

China’s chief delegate to the talks, Wu Dawei, quietly made a trip to the North in February seeking a breakthrough, South Korean and Japanese media reported at the time.

Kim began his five-day trip Tuesday and was to meet with Hu late Thursday.

The talks may include discussion about a possible summit between Hu and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the South Korean news agency Yonhap said Thursday, citing unnamed sources in Beijing.

Chinese leaders have asked Kim to visit China after his nation’s newly elected parliament holds its first session, Yonhap said. No date has been announced publicly, but the session is expected to take place in early April.

Kim, 67, reportedly suffered a stroke last August, around the time the elections were due to be held. North Korea denies he was ill and did not provide a reason for delaying the ballot until March, when Kim was re-elected.

North Korea also says it plans to launch a communications satellite in early April, but many believe it will be a cover for a long-range missile test.

On Wednesday, the North reasserted its right to launch a satellite into space, saying Russia, Iran, India and many other countries have been pursuing peaceful space programs, according to the the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide