North Korea repeats disarmament pledge

Kim Jong Il reportedly tells Chinese envoy Pyongyang seeks denuclearization.

February 9, 2010 05:28
1 minute read.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il,

kim jong il korea 311. (photo credit: AP)


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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reiterated his country's pledge to achieve a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula when he met a senior Chinese envoy, Beijing's official news agency reported Tuesday.

"The sincerity of relevant parties to resume the six-party talks is very important," Kim said during a meeting Monday with top Chinese Communist Party official Wang Jiarui, Xinhua News Agency reported from Pyongyang. Kim reiterated his country's "persistent stance to realize the denuclearization" of the peninsula, it said.

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Kim referred to stalled six-country talks on ending the North's nuclear weapons program. The North walked away from the disarmament talks — held with the US, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan — last year in anger over international condemnation of a long-range rocket launch.

Earlier Tuesday, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency reported that Wang conveyed to Kim a verbal message from Chinese President Hu Jintao and that the North Korean leader asked him to convey his regards to Hu.

KCNA said the two had a "cordial and friendly conversation" but didn't elaborate on what was discussed.

Wang's trip came as Pyongyang has embarked on a flurry of diplomacy with Washington, Seoul and Beijing after months of tension on its nuclear and missile programs.

Pyongyang on Saturday released an American missionary detained since Christmas for illegal entry, and on Monday officials from the two Koreas met in a North Korean border town to discuss restarting joint tours suspended in 2008.

UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe was due in Pyongyang on Tuesday, reportedly bearing a letter from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea. Pascoe's trip will be the first by a high-level UN official since 2004, according to Seoul's Foreign Ministry.

Pascoe will urge North Korea to rejoin the nuclear talks, and discuss the country's relationship with the world body, a UN official in New York said on condition of anonymity, citing policy.

North Korea has made clear it wants sanctions lifted and a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War before returning to the disarmament talks. Washington has responded that Pyongyang must come back to the talks first before any talk about political and economic concessions.

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