North Korean leader Kim Jong-il told a special Chinese envoy on Thursday the hermit nation will only return to six-party talks on its nuclear program if the U.S. lifts sanctions, according to a Chinese diplomatic source.
The source quoted the North Korean leader as telling State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan on Thursday morning that North Korea will negotiate on its nuclear program, be it in new bilateral talks with the U.S. or the existing six-way framework, if the U.S. makes some concessions.
Kim apologized to Beijing for going ahead with its threatened nuclear test on Oct. 9, the source said. Tang returned to Beijing from Pyongyang on Thursday night after delivering Chinese President Hu Jintao¡¯s message to the North Korean leader Officially, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters that Kim and Tang discussed North Korean-Chinese relations and the current political situation on the Korean Peninsula.
This is a very significant visit, against the backdrop of major changes on the Korean Peninsula. We hope China's diplomatic efforts ... will bear fruit,¡± Liu said. Tang was accompanied by vice foreign ministers Dai Bingguo and Wu Dawei, the latter Beijing¡¯s chief negotiator in the stalled nuclear talks.
The spokesman revealed no details of Hu¡¯s message, saying only that Chinese leaders ¡°maintain their position¡± on Korean Peninsulas issue when meeting with foreign leaders. North Korea experts believe Hu conveyed the international community¡¯s concerns about the nuclear test to the North Korean leader and urged him to return to the six-way talks as soon as possible to resolve the problem peacefully. Based on Tang¡¯s meeting with Kim, China will mediate between Washington and Pyongyang during U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to China on Friday. A diplomatic source in Beijing said Kim's willingness to meet Tang was itself a good sign.
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