China wants N. Korea's concerns addressed

Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Monday that diplomacy to resolve a crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons programmes should address Pyongyang’s security concerns.

    Jintao (L) and Moo-hyun (R) 
    agree to work on resuming 
    multilateral talks 

    Jintao made his comments in Beijing after a 90-minute summit meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Roh Moo-hyun.


    The Chinese leader said that Beijing actively backed diplomatic efforts to end the conflict over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.


    "The Chinese side all along has stood for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula. We support dialogue to peacefully resolve the problem on the peninsula," he said at a joint press conference.


    "At the same time we think we must earnestly consider the

    security concerns of North Korea. This is our principal position."


    China is North Korea’s closest ally. Both countries are run by communist regimes.


    The South Korean president hinted that he would work with Jintao on drawing North Korea into multilateral talks on the nuclear issue.


    “President Hu Jintao and I agreed to make efforts for the early resumption of direct talks among concerned parties in the North Korean nuclear issue,” Moo-hyun said.


    China launched the first round of talks in April and is working on launaching a second round of discussions.


    Moo-hyun’s visit to Beijing followed recent trips he made to Washington and Tokyo where he discussed with US and Japanese officials the nuclear issue.


    China helped North Korea in the 1950-53 war with US-backed South Korea.


    Despite Beijing’s strong relations with Pyongyang, China has established close trade ties with Seoul.


    China provides between 70 and 90 percent of North Korea's oil and more than a third of its imports and food aid.


    It also hosts about 300,000 refugees from North Korea.


    Last November, North Korea admitted it was developing nuclear weapons, leading to a rise in tensions in South East Asia.


    Japan concerned


    Koizumi might consider to visit
    North Korea in the future

    Japan is another country which has raised concerns over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.


    Reports over the weekend suggested Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, was considering to visit North Korea in September.


    Koizumi dismissed the speculation on Monday, but his office said such a trip might be considered in the future.


    Meanwhile, Kyodo news agency reported that Japan was planning to launch a second pair of spy satellites in September to enhance its information-gathering capabilities of North Korea.


    The first two satellites were launched in march and pass over North Korea twice a day, at morning and night.


    Putting another satellite pair in orbit would allow Japan to monitor North Korea in the afternoon as well, the agency said, citing government sources.


    “The official decision to launch will be made when a cabinet subcommittee meets in mid-July,” the sources told Kyodo. 


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