Foreign Ministers Meet on North Korea Nukes

The third round of the six-party negotiations on the North Korean nuclear “standoff” is scheduled for June 2004 in Beijing. In preparation for the negotiations, South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-moon paid an official visit to Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing. With Ban addressing the issue of North Korean defectors detained in China and Li relaying the outcome of his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Li, it seems diplomatic efforts are well underway to ensure that the planned multilateral negotiations do indeed take place. – YaleGlobal

Foreign Ministers Meet on North Korea Nukes

Choi Soung-ah
Monday, March 29, 2004

Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon yesterday met his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing in Beijing to discuss the six-party negotiations on the North Korean nuclear standoff.

Foreign Ministry officials in Seoul said the pair discussed the establishment of a working group to boost preparations for the third round of the negotiations planned for late June in Beijing. They also discussed ties between South Korea and China, and promised to work towards the future development of cooperative relations.

Ban is on a three-day visit to Beijing at the invitation of the Chinese foreign minister since Sunday. It is his first official trip since taking office in January.

According to Seoul's foreign ministry, Ban also addressed the issue of North Korean defectors detained in China. He asked that the Chinese government thoroughly look into the situation and grant asylum on humanitarian grounds.

During the talks, Li briefed Ban on his recent visit to Pyongyang where he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and foreign minister Paek Nam-sun to discuss the North's nuclear ambitions.

Li made a three-day visit to Pyongyang last week to play an active role in convincing the communist regime toward disarmament. Li said the North Korean leader agreed to send representatives to the third round of talks in the Chinese capital by June, as was previously agreed upon.

Following the ministerial meeting, Ban was interviewed by the China Central Television CCTV. He then paid a courtesy visit to Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and attended a dinner meeting hosted by State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, China's former foreign minister.

Minister Ban is set to meet Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, before returning home.

Copyright 2001 ~ 2003 Herald Media Inc.

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