China and North Korea reach con­sen­sus over cri­sis

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

SEOUL/BEI­JING: China and North Korea reached con­sen­sus on the Korean penin­sula cri­sis af­ter "can­did" talks, Chi­nese state me­dia re­ported, which an­a­lysts said sug­gested Py­ongyang likely agreed not to in­flame the sit­u­a­tion.

The meet­ing came as Bei­jing and Washington con­tin­ued to trade barbs over how best to deal with the spike in ten­sion on the di­vided penin­sula, with China re­ject­ing U.S. pres­sure to take its im­pov­er­ished ally to task over last month's ar­tillery at­tack on the South.

China's Xin­hua news agency said State Coun­cilor Dai Bing­guo met the iso­lated North's ail­ing leader Kim Jong-il for talks in the Py­ongyang and "the two sides reached con­sen­sus on bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and the sit­u­a­tion on the Korean penin­sula af­ter can­did and in-depth talks."

North Korea's KCNA news agency said the talks were "held over the is­sue of boost­ing the friendly and co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries and a se­ries of is­sues of mu­tual con­cern."

" It's dif­fi­cult to ex­pect much in the con­sen­sus more than a gen­eral agree­ment on the need to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion ... in a peace­ful man­ner and through di­a­logue, and that they can't have ten­sions es­ca­lat­ing," said Park Young-ho of the Korea In­sti­tute of Na­tional Uni­fi­ca­tion.

Nei­ther news agency gave any fur­ther de­tails.

"It is hard to say what the con­sen­sus Xin­hua men­tioned re­ally is, but from the words 'in-depth' and 'can­did', I think that Kim Jong-il must have had a good at­ti­tude to­ward the meet­ing," said Wang Dong of the School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies at Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity.

"Dai may have got­ten some kind of ver­bal prom­ise from North Korea that there will be no es­ca­la­tion from its side, as China may have told Kim Jong-il to make an ex­pres­sion of good­will to bring the other four coun­tries back to the six-party talks ta­ble," Wang said.

The talks on Py­ongyang's nu­clear weapons pro­gram com­prise the two Koreas, China, Ja­pan, Rus­sia and the United States but have been on hold for about two years.

The North wants to re­sume the talks, but Washington and Seoul have said they will only con­sider a re­turn when Py­ongyang shows it is sin­cere about de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

The United States has re­peat­edly called on Bei­jing to bring its ally to heel af­ter the North bom­barded a South Korean is­land last month, killing four peo­ple, and re­vealed ad­vances to its nu­clear pro­gram open­ing an­other route to make an atomic bomb. -Reuters

PY­ONGYANG: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right, shakes hands with Chi­nese State Coun­cilor Dai Bing­guo, left, in Py­ongyang, North Korea. -Ap

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