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Chinese VP reaffirms commitment to Korean Peninsula denuclearization in meeting with NK leader
SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao reaffirmed his country's commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, media reports said Friday.

   The meeting took place while Li visited the isolationist country as head of a Chinese delegation to mark the 60th anniversary of the truce of the Korean War (1950-53). The signing of the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953 is celebrated as a holiday in the North as a day of victory in the "Fatherland Liberation War."

   China had fought alongside the North against South Korea, the United States and United Nations forces, with the conflict ending in stalemate.

   International media reported that Li made clear to Kim that Beijing adheres to the principle of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and supports peace and stability in the region. The meeting comes as bilateral relations have soured between the two countries after the North defied China's warnings and went ahead with a nuclear test in February, which forced Beijing to sign off on a United Nations sanctions motion.

   The senior official added that China advocates for all outstanding differences concerning the communist North to be handled at the negotiating table and that the six-party talks should be resumed. The talks, which started in 2003 to temper the North's nuclear ambitions, have been on hold since late 2008.

   North Korea has said it is willing to take part in the talks, though Seoul and Washington have made it clear that the communist country must first clarify its stance on its nuclear weapons program. The country detonated three nuclear devices since 2006 and has so far failed to renounced its right to posses such weapons by citing the continued military threat from the United States.

   In response, Kim said the North wants to work with all interested parties to ensure peace and security in the region.

   The leader, who took power in late 2011, said Pyongyang is doing its best to push forward economic growth and improve the livelihoods of his nation's people.

   Media outlets said that during the meeting, Li verbally delivered a message from Chinese leader Xi Jinping that expressed warm greetings.

   Related to the talks, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) monitored in Seoul omitted Li's calls for denuclearization and only emphasized the traditional close ties that have existed between the idealogical partners.

   The report said the North will not forget the valor and achievements of the Chinese soldiers who fought in the Korean War, and emphasized that the North Korea-China tie is sealed in blood.

   The KCNA said that besides meeting Kim, the vice president met with Kim Yong-nam. president of the Supreme People's Assembly.

   Li will take part in the armistice celebrations planned for Saturday that is expected to include a massive military parade, and then return home the following day.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
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