Beijing says North Korea has the right to use nuclear power but should be subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The North recently agreed to the return of IAEA inspectors to nuclear facilities.
"China's position is that the North also has the right to use nuclear power in accordance with the principles of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the Sept. 19, 2005 joint statement and that it is also subject to the IAEA's inspection," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Tuesday.
She was commenting on a visit to Pyongyang by New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who said the North told him it is willing to readmit the inspectors. "China has always supported contact between North Korea and the U.S.," she said. "China hopes such contacts can be beneficial to the resumption of six-party talks and an appropriate solution to relevant issues."
Richardson arrived in Beijing on Tuesday morning winding up a visit that started last Thursday. "I noticed a pragmatic attitude on their part, a more realistic attitude," he told reporters. "When I pushed hard for non-retaliation, I saw a little bit of movement in a positive direction." He said that the North showed a flexible attitude by "pulling back" in response to South Korea's artillery drill on Yeonpyeong Island Monday. This was an expression of readiness for dialogue and important progress, he added.