'China not optimistic about N. Korea disarmament'

October 23, 2006 12:56


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China is not optimistic that North Korea will end its nuclear program or re-enter disarmament talks soon, reports said Monday, after Beijing's top nuclear envoy returned from discussions in Pyongyang. The development threw fresh doubt on a possible breakthrough even as diplomats race behind the scenes to defuse tensions and bring nations back to the negotiating table. On Monday, Japanese lawmaker Ichiro Aisawa visited Beijing to meet Chinese leaders and discuss measures following the Oct. 9 nuclear test by the North. After talking with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Aisawa said Beijing has asked both Pyongyang and Washington for flexibility in restarting talks. "Vice Foreign Minister Wu said that at this point, China is not optimistic about the resumption of the six-party talks or that North Korea will abandon its nuclear program," Aisawa was quoted as saying by Kyodo News agency. Public broadcaster NHK reported the same. The Chinese Foreign Ministry could not immediately confirm Monday's Kyodo report.

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