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China, South Korea to weigh regional threats

April 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM   |   Comments

SEOUL, April 19 (UPI) -- Talks next week between Chinese and South Korean officials are expected to feature in-depth discussions on North Korea, a Chinese diplomat said Friday.

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Zhang Xinsen said a bilateral exchange in Beijing next week will have security on the Korean Peninsula at the top of its agenda.

"(Chinese Foreign) Minister Wang Yi expects to hold in-depth talks on inter-Korean relations, regional and global issues with (South Korean Foreign) Minister Yun Byung-se when he visits Beijing next week," Zhang was quoted by South Korean news agency Yonhap as saying.

China's role in resolving the conflict in the region is seen as key because of its close ties to the North Korean government. North Korea this week outlined preconditions for a resumption of nuclear negotiations, though South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said they were "illogical."

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told U.S. lawmakers this week there were lingering concerns about what North Korea plans to do with its nuclear program.

"North Korea has not, however, fully developed, tested or demonstrated the full range of capabilities necessary for a nuclear- armed missile," he testified.

North Korea in February conducted its third test of an underground nuclear device.

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