Korea, China to push new talks on standoff
BEIJING: Visiting South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon and his Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing on Monday vowed to push for a third round of six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, Chinese state media said.
The two ministers agreed to make concerted efforts to kick off working group discussions for new six-country negotiations as soon as possible, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have held two rounds of nuclear crisis talks in Beijing since last August.
The second meeting last month failed to resolve differences over a key US demand for the complete dismantling of Pyongyang’s nuclear programs, but did lead to a consensus that working groups should be set up.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li visited North Korea last week with the nuclear issue on the agenda, and was given a rare meeting with the country’s reclusive leader Kim Jong-Il.
While the two ministers were meeting in Beijing, North Korea issued a belligerent statement blasting the US government for plans to modernize its nuclear stockpile. These plans will force North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), to beef up its own defenses, the official Korean Central News Agency warned. it said. —AFP
Japan bans firm ‘aiding’ North Korean nukes
TOKYO: Japan on Monday imposed a three-month export ban on a Tokyo-based trading house for an illegal attempt last year to ship devices to North Korea that could be used for developing nuclear weapons. “We decided to impose an administrative punishment on Meishin because of the violation of the foreign exchange law and foreign trade control law,” the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said in a statement. —AFP