Report: China Calls on North Korea to Enter Nuclear Talks
By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
(CNN) — A personal envoy to North Korea’s leader indicated Kim Jung Un was open to restarting nuclear disarmament talks, a move that came as China’s leader delivered a blunt message to Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table, Chinese state-run media reported Friday.
Kim’s personal envoy, who was on a three-day visit to China, hand-delivered a letter from Kim to President Xi Jinping at a meeting in Beijing before returning to North Korea on Friday, according to state media.
While the contents of the letter were not released by the government, the envoy — Choe Ryong-hae — told Chinese officials that his country is willing to “take positive actions to solve problems through dialogue, ” the state-run China Daily reported.
Choe did not offer any details on when or how it would jumpstart the so-called six-party talks. The talks, which include the United States and China, fell apart in 2008 when Pyongyang pulled out over disagreements over proposed nuclear inspections.
Most observers agree that Pyongyang is unlikely to return to talks where there are pre-conditions that it rid itself of nuclear weapons. North Korea is believed to have a limited nuclear ballistic missile capability, but with a low reliability.
Choe said Kim’s goal with sending the letter is to “improve, consolidate and develop” relations between North Korea and China, state news agency Xinhua reported.
During the meeting, Xi told Choe that North Korea needed to “stick to solving problems through dialogue and consultation,” according to China Daily and CCTV.
Xi’s demand comes just two weeks before he is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in California.
In another meeting, Chinese Gen. Fan Changlong told Choe that recent tensions have “jeopardized the peace and stability of the peninsula,” Xinhua reported.
Tensions between Pyongyang, Beijing and Washington spiked this year amid a flurry of fiery North Korean threats against the United States and South Korea.
The angry rhetoric appeared to be fueled by tougher U.N. sanctions against the North after it carried out its third underground nuclear test in February, as well as by annual military drills in the region by the United States and South Korea.
The intensity of the North’s rhetoric appears to have subsided in recent weeks, and the U.S.-South Korean drills finished at the end of April.
This month, North Korea test-fired rockets after criticizing the presence of a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at a South Korean port and its reported participation in joint naval drills.