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Top diplomats of S. Korea, China hold talks amid N. Korea tensions
BEIJING, April 24 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministers of South Korea and China held talks on Wednesday that focused on easing tensions triggered by North Korea's nuclear test and threats of war, and ways to respond to the North's bellicose rhetoric.

   South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is on a one-day visit to Beijing where he met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, marking their first meeting since the launch of the new governments in both countries.

   "I expect to make efforts with Minister Wang, who has an extensive knowledge on issues with regard to the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, to open a new chapter for the development of Korea-China relations," Yun said in his opening remarks during the talks with Wang.

   Wang said that China is also looking for a deepening relationship with South Korea.

  
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (L) shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before holding talks in Beijing on April 24. (Yonhap)

Later in the day, Yun was scheduled to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Wang Jairui, the head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

   Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have heightened since the North's third nuclear test in February. In response to the latest U.N. sanctions that punished Pyongyang for conducting the nuclear test, the North has unleashed a torrent of war threats at South Korea and the U.S.

   After weeks of bellicose threats and indications of a missile launch, South Korea and the U.S. offered dialogue to defuse tensions, but insisted that North Korea be serious about abandoning its nuclear weapons program before any talks can happen.

   North Korea issued a list of pre-conditions for talks with South Korea and the U.S. last week, including a withdrawal of sanctions against the North, but the allies rejected such pre-conditions.

   The Yun-Wang meeting also came at a delicate time in Northeast Asia as Japan sparked anger from both Seoul and Beijing following visits by its ministers and lawmakers to a controversial war shrine that glorifies Tokyo's wartime past.

  (END)
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