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China says it arranged US-DPRK meeting
Updated: 2006-01-19 19:40

China confirmed Thursday that it had arranged a meeting between U.S. and North Korean officials this week in Beijing in an effort to restart six-nation talks on the North's nuclear programs.

China says it arranged US-DPRK meeting
US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick (R). Robert Zoellick is due to depart on a tour of Japan and China to discuss security and trade issues, including Iran's disputed nuclear program, the State Department said. [AFP]

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, wouldn't give any details of the meeting.

Kong didn't name the U.S. or North Korean officials. But he said, "I won't deny the name you said" when a reporter mentioned U.S. envoy Christopher Hill, who South Korean media had said met with his North Korean counterpart in Beijing.

Hill made a surprise visit to the Chinese capital as North Korean leader Kim Jong Il wrapped up a weeklong visit to China. Hill said as he left that he met with Chinese officials but didn't mention any meeting with the North Korean envoy, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan.

"This contact shows the three parties have a positive attitude toward this, believing that this contact is very helpful," Kong said at a regular news briefing. "It is our hope that through efforts of relevant parties, we can narrow differences."

Kong didn't give any details of the meeting. Hill said earlier that there was no date for holding the next full round of nuclear talks. The other participants are South Korea, Japan and Russia.

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