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NKorea's Kim says open to nuclear talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il today told a Chinese envoy that he was willing to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks on his country's controversial nuclear programme, Chinese state media said.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2009 19:51 IST

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il today told a Chinese envoy that he was willing to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks on his country's controversial nuclear programme, Chinese state media said.

The statement was the latest in a series of recent peace overtures made by the secretive regime in Pyongyang following months of hostility sparked when it stormed out of long-running six-nation disarmament talks in April.

Kim offered the olive branch during a visit to Pyongyang by State Councillor Dai Bingguo of China, North Korea's closest ally and the host of the on-off negotiations on how to end its nuclear drive. The talks began in 2003.

Kim told Dai that Pyongyang "insists on denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula and was "willing to resolve relevant problems via bilateral and multilateral talks", China's state Xinhua news agency reported.

Dai, who arrived in the North Korean capital on Wednesday, delivered a letter from President Hu Jintao during his talks with Kim, which the North's official Korean Central News Agency said unfolded in an "amicable atmosphere".

Xinhua quoted Hu as telling Kim in the letter that Beijing's "consistent goal" was to "realise the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and to safeguard and promote the peace, stability and development of Northeast Asia".

Hu added that China was "ready to spare no effort to work with the DPRK (North Korea) to realise this goal," it said.