China's foreign minister Yang Jiechi has met with North Korea's secretive leader Kim Jong Il during a visit to Pyongyang to try to revive stalled nuclear negotiations. And in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report saying North Korean officials have agreed to cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.
China's official Xinhua news agency confirmed that Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met Tuesday afternoon with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il.China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing the two sides would discuss reviving six-nation negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programs.
He said China was willing to work with North Korea to implement a joint February agreement with the United States, Japan, South Korea and Russia calling for North Korea to verifiably shut down its main nuclear facilities in exchange for energy aid, security guarantees, and diplomatic incentives.
"I believe Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will express to the North Korean side the Chinese side's consistent position to peacefully resolve the Korean peninsula nuclear issue through negotiations and dialogue to realize peace and stability on the Korean peninsula as well as long-term security and stability in northeast Asia," he said.
Qin said Yang had earlier Tuesday met with North Korea's Foreign Minister and Premier to discuss bilateral relations, implementing the February agreement and promoting six-party talks.
The six-nation talks had been stalled for months because of a dispute over how to transfer North Korean accounts from a Macau bank that had previously been frozen under U.S. pressure. North Korea also missed an April deadline to shut down its main Yongbyon nuclear reactor.
However, a report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday says North Korean officials have agreed to cooperate with U.N. nuclear inspectors on the containment and surveillance of the nuclear reactor.
The report is based on a visit by IAEA inspectors to North Korea last week.
It says North Korea agrees to give the agency a list of nuclear facilities that are shut down, give agency personnel access to all facilities that have been shut down or sealed, and allow appropriate containment and surveillance.
South Korea has said it will begin delivering the first part of 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil aid to the North in the next two weeks.
The chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill, who made a surprise visit to North Korea last week, has suggested talks may resume the week of July 10.
Qin said Tuesday all sides were still consulting on a date for the resumption of nuclear talks.