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South Korean FM in China for Talks on North Korean Nuclear Ambitions


South Korea's foreign minister - soon to be the new U.N. secretary-general - is meeting with Chinese leaders to discuss sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

China's official news agency, Xinhua, says Ban Ki-moon arrived in Beijing Friday. The report says he met with President Hu Jintao and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

Ban also is scheduled to meet with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, who last week had talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

The officials will consider how to implement a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for detonating an underground nuclear device October 9.

North Korea's official news agency Friday quoted a government spokesman as saying it would be foolish to attempt to interfere in the North's internal affairs.

China and South Korea approved the financial and weapons sanctions that are stipulated in the resolution. But they are reluctant to heighten tensions with North Korea and are calling for a peaceful, diplomatic end to the crisis.

China is urging a resumption of the stalled six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to stop its nuclear activities.

On Wednesday, South Korea took its first steps to implement the U.N. sanctions, announcing a travel ban on North Koreans with suspected ties to their country's nuclear program.

Seoul also said it would increase inspections of North Korea vessels believed to be carrying banned goods.

South Korea's foreign minister will become the next U.N. secretary-general in January. Ban has pledged to focus on the North Korean issue in his new job.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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