December 13, 2010 11:53
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo in a meeting last Thursday discussed China's proposal for a meeting of chief negotiators in six-party nuclear talks, it emerged Sunday. China briefed the South Korean Embassy in Beijing about the meeting last Friday.
"The Chinese envoy apparently made no direct mention of the North's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, but stressed the principle of cool-headedness and restraint," a South Korean government official said. "China did not tell us what Kim Jong-il said."
The envoy "told Kim about China's proposal for a meeting of chief negotiators of the six-party talks, while reiterating the importance of dialogue," the official added.
South Korea, the U.S. and Japan have already rejected China's proposal.
The Choson Sinbo, a North Korean mouthpiece published in Japan, on Sunday said while it is unknown what Kim and Dai discussed, the North "officially proposed that the armistice agreement be replaced by a peace treaty in January."
"Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to visit the U.S. in January," the newspaper added. "The international community is watching what viewpoints China and the U.S., the signatories to the armistice, have on the question of war and peace on the Korean Peninsula."
A Unification Ministry official said the proposal is "nothing but a ruse to achieve the withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea. The North's desire to discuss a peace treaty with the U.S. by using China as a front is wishful thinking."
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