Chinese envoy holds talks in North Korea

Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:28am

BEIJING (Reuters) – An envoy to Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang on Wednesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported, but it did not say if North Korea’s controversial nuclear program was discussed.

State Councilor Dai Bingguo held talks with North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok Chu, discussing bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common concern, the ministry said.

The report made no mention of stalled six-party talks, hosted by China, aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear program and which North Korea has declared as over.

The Obama administration is searching for a way to revive the talks and has said it is prepared to hold direct talks to try to coax North Korea back to the six-party negotiations, involving Japan, Russia and China as well as the two Koreas and the United States.

China has also been trying to persuade North Korea to return to the negotiating table.

There have been unconfirmed reports in the Japanese press that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit North Korea in early October. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said it has “no official information to announce” on that reported visit.

Pyongyang has been sending out conflicting messages. In August, it made a series of conciliatory gestures, followed this month by more nuclear threats and then straining ties with Seoul by releasing water from a dam on a river flowing across the border, triggering a flash flood that killed six South Koreans.

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