In a sign of successful visit to Beijing by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the US and China presented a united face by demanding that North Korea (NK) return unconditionally to the 6-party talks. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxin urged “cool-headed” behavior to “adopt a prudent and responsible attitude” and promised Beijing “would like to work more closely with relevant parties to break the stalemate.”
The 6-party negotiations, which includes China , North and South Korea , Japan , Russia , and the US has stalled since late 2005. Chinese State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan recently visited Pyongyang to give North Korean leader Kim Jong-il a personal message from Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Newswire reports citing unnamed diplomatic sources in Beijing saying that Pyongyang regretted the nuclear tests and that the country has “no plans for additional nuclear tests.” A mass circulation paper, Chosun Ilbo, reported that Jong is “sorry about the nuclear tests” and also speculated that the country would return to arms talks but wanted the US to make “a concession to some degree.”
After his visit Tang said that his trip has “not been in vain” suggesting that China had privately spoken harshly to Jong and demanded a return to talks and _expression of regret. China is Pyongyang ’s largest benefactor and main trading partner. It supplies NK with almost of its oil and food. Chinese experts have publicly stated that the government would reduce critical supplies. Only last week, Pyongyang sounded defiant and bellicose saying that it would “crush US imperialists’ schemes with its self-defensive power” but China had tightened screws by starting to build a border fence and institute customs checks.