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S. Korea, China hold first diplomatic-defense talks

S. Korea, China hold first diplomatic-defense talks

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Published : 2013-12-23 20:17
Updated : 2013-12-23 20:17

Senior diplomats and defense officials of South Korea and China on Monday exchanged views on recent developments in North Korea after the stunning execution of leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, in their first high-level security talks, a Seoul diplomat said.

The so-called "two-plus-two" talks in Beijing had been planned for months, but the North's internal situation following the Dec. 12 execution of Kim's uncle, Jang Song-thaek, topped the agenda, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The talks were led by Park Joon-yong, director of Northeast Asian affairs at South Korea's foreign ministry, and his Chinese counterpart Luo Zhaohui.

"The two sides shared views on the recent developments in North Korea since the execution of Jang Song-thaek and the Chinese side said it attaches importance to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," said the diplomat with knowledge of the one-day talks.

South Korea and the U.S. have been closely watching North Korea amid fears that Pyongyang could carry out provocations to forge internal unity following Jang's execution.

The dramatic downfall of Jang, known as a supporter of Chinese-style economic reforms, is also expected to put a brake on diplomatic efforts to resume the long-stalled talks aimed at ultimately getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Since conducting its third nuclear test earlier this year, North Korea has repeatedly expressed its willingness to reopen the six-party process "without preconditions."

South Korea and the U.S. have been demanding North Korea show its sincerity first by taking steps to denuclearize. China has been more accommodating toward North Korea, urging South Korea and the U.S. to lower their bar for Pyongyang to sit down at the negotiating table.

The six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since late 2008. (Yonhap News)

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