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US, China Agree Talks with North Korea Must Resume


The diplomat leading the U.S. delegation in nuclear talks with North Korea says China will press Pyongyang to come back to the table. The comments come as diplomats from several nations work to find a way to revive the negotiations, which North Korea has abandoned.

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Christopher Hill says that multilateral talks may not succeed in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. "I cannot tell you with certainty that this six-party process is going to work," he said.

However, as the new U.S. delegate to the talks, Ambassador Hill vowed to devote "energy and imagination" to getting diplomacy back on track. He made the comments to reporters Friday in Seoul.

North Korea - also known as the DPRK - announced last week that it was indefinitely suspending its participation in talks with the United States, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea. It also said that it has nuclear weapons and plans to build more.

Ambassador Hill spent Thursday meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing to discuss ways to revive the talks. He calls North Korea's nuclear weapons programs "a big mistake," and says Chinese officials feel the same way.

"There was absolute agreement on the need for North Korea to come back to the process and the Chinese authorities were very clear that they are pressing for the DPRK to come back," said Mr. Hill.

China is North Korea's main source of economic support, and is widely seen as the country with the most leverage in Pyongyang. A senior Chinese official is scheduled to visit its communist ally this week to push for talks.

The new Chinese ambassador to Australia, Fu Ying, has taken part in the talks with North Korea. At a security seminar on Thursday in Canberra, she discussed Beijing's reaction to the latest pronouncements from Pyongyang. "For the six parties it's not really anything very new. But that doesn't mean it's not generating worries," he said. "I think as far as China is concerned we are following it very closely and we are talking with the North Koreans."

North Korea says it requires a nuclear deterrent to fend off the United States, despite repeated assurances from Washington it has no intention of attacking the North.

The United States and its partners have held three rounds of talks with North Korea, but have failed to convince Pyongyang to live up to its international commitments to remain free of nuclear weapons.