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Chinese Envoy Says North Korea Trip 'Not In Vain'

Condoleezza Rice (right) with Li Zaoxing in Beijing on October 20 (epa) October 20, 2006 -- A Chinese envoy who met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today that the meeting had "not been in vain."

State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan made the statement as he and Rice opened consultations in Beijing on the North Korean nuclear issue.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing told reporters separately that Tang's meeting with Kim had "increased mutual understanding" and addressed the issue of how to restart stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Earlier today, Rice called North Korea's nuclear test a threat to regional security.

"The [North Korean] announcement of a nuclear test was a serious provocation, and it poses a serious threat to international peace and security, particularly the peace and security of East Asia," she said.

Meanwhile, South Korean press reports quote Kim as telling the Chinese envoy that he regretted that North Korea's nuclear test had caused problems for Beijing.

(compiled from agency reports)