China’s top nuclear envoy to visit Japan

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Beijing, April 1 (IANS) China’s special representative for Korean peninsula affairs Wu Dawei will pay a visit to Japan in early April, foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said on Friday.

While in Japan, Wu will hold discussions on the resumption of the six-party talks aimed at denuclearising the Korean peninsula, Xinhua quoted Hong as saying.

The six-party talks, convening North Korea, South Korea, China, the US, Russia and Japan, have been stalled since late 2008.

China has been urging a possible dialogue ever since tensions in the peninsula skyrocketed over Pyongyang’s nuclear test in January — its fourth — and subsequent ballistic tests, the latest of which was conducted on Friday, April 1, Efe news agency reported.

While China backed the UN-imposed sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests, it has maintained it is not an end in itself and should be accompanied by dialogue with Pyongyang to persuade the North Korean regime towards disarmament.

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Beijing, historically a Pyongyang-ally and one of its main source of economic support, has also criticised the imposition of unilateral sanctions by South Korea and the US against North Korea, as also the long duration of their joint naval drills in the region.

Wu’s visit is one of the first such by a senior official of the Chinese communist regime to Japan in recent years, owing to a practical freeze in ties between the two countries over territorial and historical disputes.

North Korea was also one of the main issues discussed by US President Barack Obama on Thursday, in his bilateral meetings with his Chinese, Japanese and South Korean counterparts, on the sidelines of the ongoing Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.

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