Accessibility links

Breaking News

China And North Korea Hold 'Very Significant' Talks

Rice (left) told Japanese PM Shinzo Abe that the U.S. will fulfill its security commitments to Japan (epa) October 19, 2006 -- China's Foreign Ministry says that a special envoy sent by Beijing has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il for what it described as "very significant" talks about North Korea's nuclear program.

Beijing provided no details about what was discussed. The North Korean KCNA news agency said Tang Jiaxuan
brought leader Kim Jong-Il a personnel message from Chinese President Hu Jintao.

KCNA said talks between Tang and Kim were held "in a friendly atmosphere" and the two discussed "ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and a series of international issues of mutual concern."

Since North Korea announced on October 9 that it had tested a nuclear bomb, Tang has visited Moscow and Washington for talks.

After the test, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose sanctions, targeting Pyongyang's nuclear and military programs as well as luxury goods.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Seoul, the latest stop of a diplomatic mission to firm up support for UN sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

Ahead of the talks, South Korea's foreign minister, Ban Ki-moon, who is slated to be the next UN secretary-general, warned that a second North Korean nuclear test would trigger a "much more serious" global response.

Ban also urged North Korea to return to international nuclear talks without conditions.

Rice traveled from Tokyo where on October 18 she said the United States will fulfill its security commitments to Japan. After Seoul, Rice travels on to China and Russia.

U.S. President George W. Bush has warned North Korea it faces "grave consequences" if it tries to sell nuclear arms.

(Reuters, AP, AFP, Sky News, dpa)