Mon, Oct 23, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Kim told Chinese N Korea not planning second test


North Korean leader Kim Jong-il told a Chinese envoy that while Pyongyang has no immediate plans to carry out another nuclear test, future tests will hinge on US policy toward the country, a news report said yesterday.

Kim made the remarks to Tang Jiaxuan (唐家璇) during talks this past week in Pyongyang to discuss the North's first-ever nuclear test on Oct. 9, Kyodo News agency reported from Beijing, citing unnamed officials.

Kim told Tang that while there is no plan to hold a second nuclear test for the moment, North Korea would have to respond if the US continues to pressure the country, according to Kyodo.

Officials at China's Foreign Ministry in Beijing had no immediate comment.

Kim also said he thinks the US is trying to crush North Korea with its hostile policy, and complained about US financial sanctions, which have been in place since September last year, Kyodo said.

Kim reiterated that the financial sanctions were an obstacle to six-way talks on the North's nuclear program and Pyongyang could return to the talks -- stalled since last November -- if the US lifts the sanctions, according to the report.

US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, meanwhile, went to Hong Kong for talks on frozen North Korean bank accounts in Macau, according to a spokesman for the US Consulate General.

Washington banned transactions between Macau-based Banco Delta Asia and US financial institutions in September last year, characterizing the bank as a "willing pawn for the North Korean government."

It also alleged that the bank's clients were involved in smuggling and counterfeiting.

North Korea has denied the allegations and has made the lifting of the freeze a precondition for its return to the talks. Washington has said the financial restrictions are unrelated to the nuclear talks.

Hill came to Hong Kong after accompanying US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing to rally support for a UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions against the North for the nuclear test.

Rice cast doubt on reports that Pyongyang promised not to conduct more nuclear tests saying the Chinese hadn't told her any such thing when she was in Beijing.

"Councilor Tang did not tell me that Kim Jong-il either apologized for the test or said that he would never test again," Rice, who had met with Tang in Beijing, said during a visit to Moscow on Saturday.

Kyodo said in an earlier report yesterday that the Chinese government told countries involved in the six-way talks that based on Kim's comments to Tang, Beijing concluded that North Korea, at this point, has no intention of going ahead with a second nuclear test.

Beijing had briefed Tokyo about Tang's meeting, Kyodo said.

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