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Rice visit will revive nuke talks
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08:11, February 22, 2008

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United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will arrive in Beijing on Tuesday in a high-level push to resume stalled denuclearization talks on the Korean Peninsula.

Rice's one-day schedule will restrict her visit to the capital for political meetings with China's top leaders. She will also hold talks with her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

Beijing is the second leg of Rice's east Asian trip, which will focus largely on the deadlock to dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear facilities.

She will leave Washington tomorrow for Seoul, to attend the inauguration of Republic of Korea (ROK)'s President-elect Lee Myung-bak. Her final stop will be Japan.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told yesterday's regular press briefing that Rice's visit is a key diplomatic step between the two countries and hopes it will push forward the development of healthy, stable and constructive Sino-US ties.

The chief US negotiator on the Six-Party Talks, Christopher Hill, arrived in Beijing this week to lay the groundwork for Rice's visit.

Hill held talks with the Chinese side as well as his counterpart in Pyongyang, Kim Kye-gwan, before flying to Seoul and Tokyo for further consultations.

Diplomatic activity aimed at kick-starting the stalled process has been intensifying.

ROK chief negotiator Chun Yung-Woo also met with his counterpart from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Kye-Gwan, yesterday in Beijing.

Chun told reporters after the meeting that the DPRK insists talks on dismantling its nuclear programs stalled due to "technical issues" and not a lack of political willingness.

Top officials from Beijing, Pyongyang and Seoul also met in the Chinese capital yesterday to discuss ways of using economic and energy aid under the framework of the Six-Party Talks.

Headed by Chinese special envoy on Korean Peninsula affairs, Chen Naiqing, the Chinese delegation comprised officials from the foreign affairs and commerce ministries.

Liu said thanks to the tremendous efforts made by the relevant parties, the nuclear talks as well as the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula have made progress.

"Despite the difficulties, all parties remain committed," he said.

Source: China Daily

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