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North Korean Nuclear Talks 'Beneficial,' Says China - 2003-04-24

China says talks under way in Beijing about North Korea's nuclear ambitions are "beneficial." The comment came before China, the United States and North Korea wrapped up a second day of talks in Beijing on North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Diplomats say the three sides have outlined their various positions, but reported no details from the talks.

But commentary on Pyongyang's state media blames Washington for pushing tensions on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war. North Korea is demanding a guarantee that the United States will not attack, even though Washington has said again and again it has no intention of attacking the North.

The U.S. delegation headed by Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, wants a verifiable and irreversible end to North Korea's programs to build nuclear weapons.

The crisis began last October when Mr. Kelly said North Korea admitted it was breaking international agreements not to build nuclear weapons.

Since then, a U.S.-led consortium cut promised oil deliveries to North Korea. North Korea, in turn, expelled U.N. nuclear monitors, pulled out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and restarted a reactor at Yongbon.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao says Beijing's participation may tamp down tension between Pyongyang and Washington.

Mr. Liu says the North Korean nuclear issue is complex and difficult and it will take sincerity and strong efforts to solve it.

Analysts say strong efforts are not likely to bring any breakthroughs by the time these talks end Friday. Washington says it wants future discussions to include more nations, like Japan and South Korea.

U.S. diplomats are briefing officials from those nations on the current talks and Mr. Kelly is scheduled to visit Seoul when the discussions end. Russia also welcomed the three-way talks and says it is ready to join future talks if that would help reach a peaceful settlement.