US urges China to press North Korea to return to nuclear talks


HANOI: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday urged Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to use his government’s clout to get North Korea to return to nuclear disarmament talks.
During discussions on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Hanoi, Clinton also urged Yang to have China pressure North Korea to smooth the way for the Group of 20 summit in South Korea and improve ties with Seoul, a senior US State Department official told reporters.
“We conveyed today the need for China to exert pressure and influence on North Korea, first of all, to behave responsibly in the run-up to the G20 and to take the appropriate steps so that they rebuild trust and relations with South Korea and also return to the six-party talks,” the official said.
North Korea said this month that it was ready to resume six-party talks on its nuclear program, but gave no indication of whether it had dropped preconditions including a lifting of sanctions and separate talks with Washington.
Prospects for renewed negotiations have been clouded by South Korean and US accusations that the North torpedoed one of Seoul’s warships in March, a charge it denies. The US says the North must mend relations with the South
and show sincerity about nuclear disarmament before the six-party talks can resume.
A new incident on the Korean peninsula on Friday heightened tensions ahead of the the G20 summit on November 11-12 hosted by Seoul. North and South Korean troops exchanged fire across their tense border, Seoul’s military said, reporting no injuries.
Exchanges of fire break out occasionally near the heavily fortified and closely guarded frontier. South Korea’s military was put on top security alert this week to guard the meeting against any disruptions by North Korea or international terrorists.