Six-party talks on the Korean peninsular to be held soon

The six-party talks on the Korean peninsula nuclear issue are to resume soon, according to a source from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Tuesday.

At the invitation of China, the heads of delegations to the talks from China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States had an informal meeting in Beijing Tuesday, said the source.

"The three parties agreed that the six-party talks be held soon at a time convenient to the six parties," the source said.

The source said the three heads had a "candid" and "in-depth" exchange of views on continuing efforts to advance the process of the talks.

The six-party talks on Korean nuclear issue have remained stalled since the last round meeting in Beijing last November.

The last round of talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan, ended with a chairman's statement, in which the parties agreed to resume talks as soon as possible.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on Tuesday that the most pressing task was the resumption of talks at an early date and the establishment of a nuclear weapons free Korean peninsula.

"We would like to maintain consultations with the relevant parties during the process," Liu said.

The DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test on Oct. 9, triggering protests from the international community and complicating the Korean nuclear issue.

Since the test, China has been engaged in a diplomatic campaign.

President Hu Jintao held phone talks with U.S. President George W. Bush, exchanging views on the DPRK nuclear test.

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan headed to the United States and Russia Oct. 11 as Hu's special envoy. Later Tang visited the DPRK also as Hu's special envoy, and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il met with Tang on Oct. 19. During the meeting Tang conveyed a message from President Hu to Kim.

ROK President Roh Moo-hyun visited China, where the leaders of the two countries agreed to work more closely on the issue.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited China from Oct. 20 to 21 and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said there was "no other choice but diplomacy" when addressing the Korean peninsula nuclear issue.

Jin Linbo, of the China Institute of International Studies, welcomed the resumption of the six-party talks, pointing out it's a positive step to avoid the escalating of the crisis and peacefully solve the Korean nuclear crisis.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---