Presidents in joint call over North Korea talks

2013-06-27 23:31:02 GMT2013-06-28 07:31:02(Beijing Time)  Shanghai Daily

THE presidents of China and South Korea yesterday called for a swift resumption of six-nation North Korean nuclear disarmament talks.

Park Geun-hye, on a four-day visit to China, was having her first formal discussions with the new Chinese leadership led by Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

Talks will also focus on booming economic ties between the two countries, highlighted by the unusually large, high-powered trade delegation traveling with Park.

The meetings are seen as piling further pressure on North Korea to rejoin the talks, and Xi said improving conditions on the peninsula boded well for new discussions.

"We hope all sides can seize this opportunity to work to return to the six-party talks as soon as possible," Xi told reporters after talks with Park at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Park said the two sides agreed on the need to prevent North Korea having nuclear weapons "under any circumstances" and to "preserve the peace and stability of Korean Peninsula."

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of agreements on energy cooperation, trade and other areas.

Park, a self-taught Mandarin speaker, has said she is keen to enlist China's leaders in the drive for new North Korean denuclearization discussions that would also include the US, Russia and Japan.

The China-hosted talks with Pyongyang have been stalled since 2009 over the question of how to verify that North Korea is fulfilling its commitments to dismantle nuclear facilities.

Park is scheduled to meet Li today.

Park has said any resumption of talks must be preceded by signs North Korea is serious about following through on its disarmament commitments, echoing the position of the United States.

Washington does not want to be drawn into talks that serve only to relieve pressure on Pyongyang, provide it a platform to seek much-needed aid, and buy it more time to further its nuclear weapons program.

Park's appreciation for Chinese culture should help foster positive relations.

The Beijing stage of her trip, which includes meetings with business groups and a speech to university students, is to be followed by a stop at the ancient city of Xi'an in the northwest.

Park is traveling with a 71-strong business delegation, highlighting the close economic ties that have lifted China above the US as South Korea's top trading partner.

Among the delegates are the chairmen of Hyundai Motor Group and LG Group.

Two-way trade hit US$215 billion last year, with South Korea's exports of semiconductors, mobile phones, cars and industrial products giving it a trade surplus of more than US$50 billion.

Both sides agreed to push for the completion of a bilateral free trade agreement.

The two sides also agreed to extend currency swap arrangements and discuss possible expansion of swap volume. They also vowed to deepen financial cooperation and expand cooperation in information and communication technology, energy, environment and climate change.

Park is to deliver an address at Tsinghua University, Xi's alma mater, tomorrow and visit a Samsung Electronics complex during her trip to Xi'an.

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Editor: Yu Runze
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