Kim wants talks to succeed, says China

Beijing, Oct 30 | Updated: Oct 31 2005, 05:30am hrs
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il expects the next round of six-party talks on the Norths nuclear programme to begin in the first half of November and is committed to their success, a Chinese official said on Sunday.

Wang Jiarui, head of the Chinese Communist Party international department who helped organise a visit to North Korea by Chinese President Hu Jintao, said Kim told Hu a joint statement reached at the end of the last round of talks in September was a hard-won success.

North Korea agreed in the document to dismantle its nuclear weapons programmes and rejoin the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in exchange for aid and better ties with the United States and Japan.

Both sides reiterated their commitment to peaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear issue by dialogue, Wang told a news conference in Beijing after Hus visit.

Kim had told Hu that the North would take its commitment seriously, Wang said.

In the discussions on the six-party talks and the nuclear issue, both leaders gave reasons to believe the fifth round will open on schedule and produce new progress.

The talks are expected to begin around Nov. 7. Wang said the talks would begin in the first half of November but he did not give a specific date.

Hus trip to North Korea follows a flurry of Chinese diplomatic overtures Vice-Premier Wu Yi met Kim earlier this month and Li Bin, a Chinese diplomat responsible for Korean affairs, went last week. Hu returned home on Sunday.

North Korea hosted Hu with the theatrical extravagance that Pyongyang extends to its few friends: masses lined the capitals streets to chant slogans and wave banners praising the two countries friendship, and on Saturday evening Hu attended a stadium-size performance of 100,000 dancing and placard-wielding performers.

One of the placard displays praised Hu as a friendly emissary of the Chinese people.

But Chinese analysts said the propaganda and Hus praise of the North carried a serious message that has broader implications for regional relations and talks aimed at ending North Koreas nuclear weapons programme.

China wants to strengthen its ties with North Korea, and to reassure North Korea that China considers it an important neighbour, said Shi Yinhong, a researcher of Chinese international strategy at the Peoples University of China in Beijing.For China nowadays, North Korea is important for strategic, not ideological, reasons.