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13 July 2009

S Korea, China exchange ideas on breaking N Korea impasse

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Top nuclear negotiators for China and South Korea held discussions on Monday on how to break the impasse in negotiations over North Korea's atomic programme, as South Korea's president called for a get-tough approach on Pyongyang, the Associated Press reported.

North Korea quit the six-nation nuclear negotiations in April in anger over a UN rebuke of its long-range rocket launch. The communist regime has since further ratcheted up tensions, conducting its second nuclear test and a series of banned missile launches.

The North is also suspected in a series of cyber attacks that caused Web outages in the US, and the South.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Beijing's nuclear envoy, has been on a trip to other members of the nuclear talks to discuss how to break the deadlock.

“The important thing is that we, both sides, should exchange opinions in a candid and in-depth manner,” the Chinese official said at the start of talks with Seoul's nuclear envoy, Wi Sung Lac.

The UN Security Council adopted a tough sanctions resolution against the North last month for its nuclear test.

Washington is trying to muster international support for stringent enforcement of the sanctions that centre on clamping down on North Korea's alleged trading of banned arms and weapons-related material.

In Sweden, South Korea's conservative, pro-US President Lee Myung Bak called for pressure on Pyongyang.

“The reason we are being tough like this is to get North Korea to give up its nuclear programme and come to the negotiating table,” Lee told South Korean reporters traveling with him on a trip to Europe, according to Yonhap news agency.

Unlike his two liberal predecessors, Mr Lee has taken a hard-line on Pyongyang, halting unconditional aid to Seoul's impoverished neighbour. That has angered the North, prompting it to suspend inter-Korean reconciliation talks and key joint projects.


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