October 12, 2009 08:51
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last Saturday gave a detailed account of matters he discussed with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during his visit to Pyongyang on Oct. 4-6, breaking with a long tradition of secrecy among the Chinese leadership on such issues.
Speaking to reporters at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wen said a "correct understanding of what really happened" by the press "helps create an environment in favor of the resumption of the six-party talks" on the North Korean nuclear issue.
Wen said he and Kim "talked about the North Korean nuclear issue for a combined total of 10 hours over several occasions. We talked for about four hours at a stretch."
He said Kim "appeared flexible and said he did not oppose the talks." He quoted Kim as saying, "I hope to see conditions in place to resume the six-party talks after relevant issues are solved through bilateral and multilateral talks." Wen said North Korea wants to improve relations not only with the U.S. but with South Korea and Japan. "This was an important impression I received from my visit to Pyongyang."
Wen said massive economic aid promised to the North during the visit aimed to "assist economic development and improve people's lives." He insisted providing it "is consistent with the spirit of the UN Security Council resolution" sanctioning the North over its nuclear test.
Meanwhile, President Lee Myung-bak cautiously welcomed North Korea's willingness for talks but added, "North Korea must be aware that our goal is not to a mere return to the six-party talks but an agreement that it will abandon its nuclear weapons."
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