Chinese Premier to persuade N Korea to resume six-nation talks

     Keen to bring Pyongyang back to the multilateral negotiation table, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) early next week. Pyongyang withdrew from six-nation talks on decommissioning nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula in April after launching a missile that followed UN sanctions. On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Wen will pay an "official goodwill visit" to North Korea between Sunday and Tuesday. "Wen will meet with DPRK leaders and exchange views on furthering China-DPRK ties and other issues of concern to both countries," China Daily quoted foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, as saying. Earlier, the ROK's Yonhap news agency reported that DPRK leader Kim Jong-il may announce some concrete denuclearisation measures during Wen's visit. "There probably will be significant talks between Wen and leader Kim Jong-il, not only on their relations but about events throughout the Korean Peninsula and nuclear arms," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the ROK's University of North Korean Studies. North Korea has been insisting on one-on-one talks with the US, instead of the multilateral talks, which involve the DPRK, ROK, China, Russia, US and Japan. Washington is now believed to be considering direct talks as part of its efforts to restart the six-party process. In August, Kim reportedly expressed a willingness to engage in "bilateral and multilateral talks" during his meeting with Chinese presidential envoy Dai Bingguo in Pyongyang.

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