Thu, Jan 19, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Kim's visit confirmed

TALKS North Korea's leader told the Chinese president that Pyongyang would contribute to the peaceful resolution of the Korean peninsula standoff

AP , SEOUL

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said his country was committed to a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue during talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤), as the communist nation confirmed yesterday the reclusive Kim had visited his regime's main ally.

The trip -- shrouded in secrecy and tight security, with China refusing to confirm his presence despite numerous media reports -- has raised expectations of possibly fostering a resumption of stalled six-nation talks on the North's nuclear programs.

At a meeting between Kim and Hu, the countries "agreed to contribute to the peaceful resolution of the Korean Peninsula's nuclear issue by continually pursuing the six-way talks process," according to a Korean-language report from the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Kim was in China on an "unofficial visit" from Jan. 10 through yesterday at Hu's invitation, KCNA said.

"Our basic position remains unchanged to maintain the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to implement the joint statement from the fourth round of the six-party talks and to pursue a peaceful resolution through dialog," Kim told Hu, according to KCNA.

In September at the first joint statement reached during the talks that began in 2003, the North agreed to abandon its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

However, he mentioned "difficulties created in the process" of the talks. The North has refused to attend the talks and demanded an end to US sanctions.

Kim also called for a joint effort with the Chinese "to overcome the difficulties in the six-way talks and to find a way to move forward."

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