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N. Korea's vice foreign minister returns home after visit to China


North Korea's vice foreign minister returned home Saturday, the North's state media reported, following a trip to China that raised hopes for a possible resumption of six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear programs.
   
Kim Kye-gwan, the first vice-minister of foreign affairs, and his party returned home after visiting China, the North's Korean Central News Agency said in a brief report, monitored in Seoul.   

The report gave no further details except to say that he met in Beijing with Yang Jiechi, state councilor of China, and Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister, respectively on June 21.
  
Kim's trip sparked new hopes for resumption of the six-way talks as he noted that denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula was a dying wish of the North's late leaders -- Kim Il-sung and his son Jong-il.
   
The six-party forum has been suspended for over four years amid high military tensions on the Korean peninsula exacerbated by the North's rocket launch in December and its third nuclear test in February. The talks involve both South and North Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
  
Kim's trip to China came shortly after Pyongyang proposed high-level  talks with the United States and ahead of a scheduled summit meeting in Beijing between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.    

The U.S. has rejected the North's offer for high-level talks, urging the communist country to show by action, not words, its sincerity toward  enuclearization. (Yonhap News)

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