May 27, 2008 / 2:32 PM / 12 years ago

China urges progress in North Korea nuclear talks

BEIJING (Reuters) - China urged all sides trying to rein in communist North Korea’s nuclear weapons program on Tuesday to engage fully to achieve results sooner rather than later.

A North Korean soldier looks south as he stands guard at the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, May 21, 2008. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will hold talks in Beijing on Wednesday with North Korean diplomat Kim Kye-gwan and other delegates to the stop-start six-party talks which China has hosted for years with little noticeable result.

Reclusive North Korea promised to produce a declaration on its nuclear program as part of a broader multilateral deal under which North Korea, which detonated an atomic device in October 2006, agreed to abandon all its nuclear programs in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives.

“I think we’re going to talk about how we can complete phase two and what the elements are in putting together this declaration package and how we might go on from there,” Hill told reporters.

Hill met briefly with Kim and China’s nuclear pointman Wu Dawei on Tuesday, and is also scheduled to meet Japanese delegate Akitaka Saiki while in Beijing.

“I think both discussions were very good,” Hill said of his initial discussions with Kim and Wu, without elaborating.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a news conference earlier that China hoped the talks in Beijing this week would have a positive outcome.

“They will exchange views on advancing the six-party talks, and we hope that the other parties will be able to engage in full and effective communications,” Qin said.

“... This would help to implement as quickly as possible and in a full and balanced way the actions of the second phase.”

The six-party agreement was struck by the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also visits China this week, aiming to boost business with the country’s biggest trade partner.

Reporting by Chris Buckley and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani

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