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China hopes U.S., N. Korea to hold direct talks on nuclear standoff

17:02 September 27, 2013

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- China said Friday it hopes the United States and North Korea will hold bilateral talks to help resolve the North's nuclear standoff as Beijing has intensified its diplomatic efforts to resume the long-stalled dialogue on Pyongyang's atomic weapons program.

Hong Lei, a spokesman at China's foreign ministry, made the remarks a day after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in New York, during which they discussed North Korea, Syria and Iran, among others.

Describing the Wang-Kerry meeting as "candid, practical and constructive," Hong said they agreed to "commit to the denuclearization, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula."

"At the same time, China believes that legitimate concerns of the DPRK (North Korea) should be resolved, and hopes to see more direct contacts between the U.S. and the DPRK," Hong said.

The remarks by Hong are unlikely to gain traction from Washington because the Obama administration wants North Korea to change its course before the resumption of any nuclear talks with the North can take place. However, Obama's so-called "strategic patience" policy toward North Korea has produced little results so far.

After stoking tensions by conducting its third nuclear test in February, North Korea has reached out to South Korea and the U.S. for dialogue on its nuclear programs.

Seoul and Washington maintain that they will not sit with North Korea at the negotiating table unless the communist country demonstrates its seriousness about denuclearization through concrete actions.

The six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since late 2008. North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since 2006.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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