North Korean Ends ‘Candid’ China Visit

Unexpected private talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and leaders in Beijing resulted in what is being called a "broad common understanding." During the talks, Beijing reiterated its desire for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula while also addressing North Korea's 'rational concerns,' a hint at North Korea's desire for security guarantees from the US. For his part, Kim re-affirmed a goal of a nuclear weapons-free area and finding a diplomatic solution to the current stand-off. At this stage, however, it is still a waiting game to see if the promises made actually materialize. North Korea only admits to its plutonium program, while the US asserts that Pyongyang also has a program based on weapons-grade uranium in the works. China provides most of the economic support to the ailing country, which does not even produce enough grain to feed its own people. Interestingly, free-market reforms were also discussed during the talks, and Kim visited a model village to view the results of China's reforms. Until officially acknowledging that the visit had taken place, Beijing did not entertain queries about the trip from foreign journalists. As the US awaits China's official report on the talks, one wonders how much substantive progress was made as opposed to bright faces and routine empty words. - YaleGlobal

North Korean Ends 'Candid' China Visit

Beijing Said to Urge Dialogue on Nuclear Arms
Edward Cody
Thursday, April 22, 2004

Click here for the original article on The Washington Post's website.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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