Chinese envoy meets with N. Korea's Kim

Dec. 9, 2010 at 7:35 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, Dec. 9 (UPI) -- China's top diplomat and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reached a consensus Thursday about easing tension on the Korean Peninsula, officials said.

The meeting was the first between Kim and a top Chinese official since North Korea attacked a South Korean island near the countries' maritime border, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"The two sides reached consensus on bilateral relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula after candid and in-depth talks," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

She did not detail discussions between Kim and Chinese envoy Dai Bingguo, CNN reported.

The Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's state-run news agency, said the two sides discussed the "issue of boosting the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and a series of issues of mutual concern."

Tensions between the Koreas have mounted following North Korea's artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island Nov. 23 in which four people died, revelations that it is enriching uranium and the March sinking of a South Korean warship allegedly by a North Korean torpedo.

North Korean officials have advocated resumption of six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. The parties include the Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. China also called for talks among the six countries to address rising tensions between the Koreas, but the United States so far has refused, saying it wants proof North Korea is serious about curbing its provocative acts and its nuclear program.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, called on China to use its influence with North Korea to prevent a full-blown crisis, CNN reported. China is North Korea's chief ally and trading partner.

"I actually believe that because these provocations continue and seemingly at a frequent interval, that the danger is going up and that steps must be taken to ensure that they stop," Mullen said in Tokyo. "Much of that volatility is owed to the reckless behavior of the North Korean regime, enabled by their friends in China."

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