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(Yonhap Interview) Wu's trip to N. Korea 'positive' toward resumption of nuclear talks

By Kim Deok-hyun

BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Yonhap) -- This week's visit by China's chief nuclear envoy to North Korea is expected to have a "pretty positive" effect on the resumption of stalled nuclear talks, a Chinese foreign-policy expert said Friday, amid indications Beijing is accelerating its efforts to revive the six-party talks on the North's nuclear programs.

The Chinese nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, flew to North Korea on Monday on a trip seen as aimed at re-starting the six-party denuclearization talks that have been stalled since 2008. The forum, launched in 2003, involves the two Koreas, China, the U.S., Japan and Russia.

Wu held talks with North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan who doubles as the country's nuclear envoy. The North's Korean Central News Agency reported without giving any other details except to say that they had "friendly" discussions.

Ruan Zongze, the vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the trip by Wu to North Korea "is pretty positive and it's a very timely attempt from the Chinese side to conduct dialogues with our counterparts in the DPRK (North Korea).

"We will do whatever from the Chinese side to contribute to this kind of dialogue," Ruan told Yonhap News Agency in an interview. "We will do some preparations for a kind of resumption of the six-party talks as early as possible."


After stoking tensions early this year by conducting its third nuclear test, North Korea has recently made overtures toward South Korea and the U.S.

South Korea and the U.S. have called on North Korea to demonstrate its seriousness about denuclearization through concrete actions before any resumption of the six-party nuclear talks can take place.

North Korea has expressed its willingness to rejoin the six-party talks but has shown no signs of accepting such conditions set by Seoul and Washington. Instead, North Korea has insisted on being recognized as a nuclear power.

Seoul and Pyongyang, however, have shown clear signs of easing tensions in recent weeks, by agreeing to reopen a jointly run industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong that was shuttered in April.

In another conciliatory gesture, North Korea has agreed to resume programs to temporarily reunite separated family members on both sides of the border.

"I think this is a moment for relevant parties to boost a kind of dialogue concerning the Korean Peninsula," Ruan said.

"Earlier this year, it was a pretty tense situation. But now, I think the North and South are engaging in dialogue and China is also playing a part to facilitate and to encourage parties in the region to have more dialogues."