China’s North Korea envoy to hold talks in Washington

AFP, WASHINGTON

Sun, Apr 21, 2013 - Page 5

Hot on the heels of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Beijing, China’s top nuclear envoy Wu Dawei (武大偉) is to make a rare visit to Washington for talks on North Korea, a US official said on Friday.

Wu “will visit Washington April 21 to April 24 for consultations with Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies and other US officials,” the US State Department official said.

“Both the United States and China agree on the fundamental importance of a denuclearized North Korea,” the official added, asking not to be named.

Wu, who is Beijing’s special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, is also China’s envoy to the stalled six-party nuclear talks seeking to persuade Pyongyang to halt its denuclearization program.

The Chinese official’s visit comes amid weeks of tensions sparked by North Korean threats of nuclear and missiles strikes against the US and South Korea.

In a bid to dial back the tensions, Seoul and Washington have offered to resume talks with Pyongyang if it takes serious steps to put its nuclear weapons program on the table.

However, the North shot back with its own conditions for talks, demanding that UN sanctions be lifted and joint US-South Korean military exercises be ended.

Kerry traveled to Beijing for talks over the weekend, seeking to persuade the Chinese leadership to use its considerable sway over North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to ease the tension.

“One of the calculations I know that has been in Kim Jong-un’s mind is that he can kind of do this and get away with it because he doesn’t believe China will crack down on him,” Kerry told US lawmakers on Thursday.

“So that’s a key consideration here and hopefully that in fact will be proven to be not true,” he said.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪), who is in charge of Beijing’s foreign policy, said after talks with Kerry last week that China was committed to “advancing the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula.”

He added that Beijing “will work with other relevant parties including the US to play a constructive role.”