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S. Korea, China hold talks on N. Korea ahead of summit

The chief nuclear envoys from South Korea and China held talks on Tuesday on ways to resolve a long-running standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, officials said Tuesday, a day before President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a summit in Beijing.

South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Hwang Joon-kook, arrived in Beijing earlier in the day and held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei. Hwang said the Tuesday meeting was aimed at fine-tuning the North Korean nuclear issue. 

Park will hold a summit with Xi on Wednesday in Beijing, a day before she attends a military parade marking the end of World War II.

Asked whether Park and Xi would send a "strong message" about the denuclearization of North Korea, Hwang replied, "There will be in-depth discussions with the Chinese side."

The meeting between Hwang and Wu came as Kim Gunn, South Korea's deputy chief nuclear envoy, has been in talks with his Chinese counterpart since last Saturday, according to South Korean diplomats in Beijing.

South Korea has asked China to exercise more leverage in getting North Korea to change its course on its nuclear weapons program and return to the negotiating table. But North Korea has shown no signs of giving up its nuclear ambitions.

China is North Korea's economic lifeline, but it has been reluctant to use leverage over the ally because it could lead to the North's collapse and instability on its border.

The six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan, have been stalled since late 2008.

Diplomatic efforts to revive the multilateral talks have produced no results so far. North Korea conducted its third and most powerful nuclear test in 2013. (Yonhap)



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