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US, North Korean Nuclear Negotiators Arrive in Beijing


The top American and North Korean envoys to the Korea nuclear talks are both in Beijing, as momentum builds for further progress on Pyongyang's full disarmament. The nuclear talks are going on as South Korea's president arrives in Beijing for his first state visit to China. Stephanie Ho has more on the story.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan both arrived in Beijing Tuesday.

American officials say Hill's Beijing schedule has been given to the North Koreans, "if they want to arrange a meeting."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters Beijing has taken note of frequent exchanges between the United States and North Korea.

He says China believes these meetings are "very good" and "conducive." He says he hopes that the two sides continue this momentum, whether in terms of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula or in improving relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

The spokesman added that Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei also will be meeting in Beijing with chief nuclear negotiators from the United States, North Korea, South Korea and Japan. The only member of the six-party Korean nuclear talks not present is Russia.

Qin says China hopes that the six-party talks will continue to make progress as quickly as possible. He says that is the shared aspiration of all the six countries involved.

The Chinese spokesman says the exact time frame for the talks is still being worked out.

Progress over denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula stalled because of disagreement about a complete declaration of the North's nuclear facilities.

Although Washington accused Pyongyang of failing to live up to its promise to provide the statement by the end of last year, North Korea recently gave the United States thousands of documents from its main nuclear facility. American officials are reviewing the documents.

Meanwhile, South Korea's new president, Lee Myung-bak, arrived in China Tuesday for a state visit. The Chinese spokesman says the two countries are important partners and hope to bring relations to a new level.

China fought against South Korea during the Korean War, from 1950 to 1953. The conflict ended with a ceasefire that has never been replaced with a peace treaty. China is now South Korea's top trade partner, although the two countries only established relations in 1992.

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