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China eyes two-step plan for six-party nuke talks

world Updated: Mar 20, 2010 13:31 IST

China may invite Japan, South Korea and the US for multilateral talks before convening a preparatory session for resuming the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programme.

China, chair of the denuclearisation talks, is contemplating a plan to invite North Korea and Russia to
Beijing a few days after the three countries' arrival, the official sources said yesterday.

When chief delegates from the six countries "happen to be together" in Beijing, China plans to convene an unofficial
meeting, which the country hopes will pave the way for resumption of the stalled nuclear talks, they said.

Despite the plan, it is uncertain whether China will be able to convene a preparatory session in the near future
because bilateral talks between the US and North Korea --which Pyongyang regards as a precondition for returning to the six-party talks -- are not yet in sight.

Meanwhile, China has asked North Korea to restart disablement work of its Yongbyon nuclear complex, the sources
said, indicating Beijing's desire to discuss measures to denuclearise Pyongyang at an envisaged preparatory session.

China lodged the request during a visit to Beijing in February by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan,
who is the country's top nuclear negotiator.