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2 NK Diplomats Go to Beijing With Chinese Official

Posted February. 10, 2010 07:16,   


Two North Korean diplomats arrived in Beijing yesterday along with a leading Chinese official who visited Pyongyang for three days.

North Korea’s top nuclear envoy, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, and Ri Gun, director-general of the North American affairs bureau of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, flew to the Chinese capital with Wang Jiarui, director of the international affairs department of the Chinese Communist Party.

In Pyongyang, Wang held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il Monday on bilateral relations and the resumption of the six-party nuclear dialogue.

Kim Kye Gwan’s arrival in Beijing with Wang is raising speculation over whether North Korea will return to the six-party talks. Kim reportedly went to the Chinese capital for bilateral discussion on the talks.

China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said Kim Jong Il and Wang had their meeting in Hamhung, South Hamkyong Province, while the North Korean leader was conducting an inspection.

“The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is our consistent principle,” Kim Jong Il was quoted as saying. “Sincere efforts of related countries to resume the denuclearization talks are very important.”

Kim Jong Il made the comments after receiving a personal message from Chinese President Hu Jintao through Wang, urging stronger bilateral cooperation and exchange of opinions on the nuclear issue.

The North Korean leader simply reiterated North Korea’s principle, experts said. When he held talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in October last year, however, Kim Jong Il said, “I’m willing to hold multilateral dialogue including the six-party talks depending on the progress in bilateral talks with the U.S.”

Experts said this is because his meeting with Wang focused on pending bilateral issues such as Chinese assistance to North Korea.

Conspicuously absent from the proceedings was North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Ju, Kim`s close confidant who is considered the mastermind behind Pyongyang’s nuclear policy. Kang had attended the four previous meetings between Kim Jong Il and Wang.

Kim Jong Il has given the impression that he wants to avoid going into details over the resumption of the six-party talks. Unable to ignore the efforts of China, the host of the six-party talks, to resume the stalled dialogue, he apparently sent his top nuclear envoy Kim Kye Gwan to Beijing to express his sincerity.

By doing so, Kim Jong Il has expressed his willingness to leave the fine-tuning of the matter to working-level bilateral talks, according to experts.

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