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Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009

Pyongyang hinges six-party return to U.S. talks progress


Staff writer

Pyongyang may return to the six-party talks to denuclearize the hermit state if bilateral talks with the United States turn out favorable for Pyongyang, a top Chinese defense official said Friday in Tokyo.

Liang Guanglie was in Tokyo to meet Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa separately Friday to discuss bilateral military exchanges and the North's denuclearization.

"It seems like (Pyongyang) is attaching importance on bilateral ties with the U.S.," Kitazawa said after the meeting, adding, "North Korea is ready to take part in the six-party talks anytime if the (expected) talks with the U.S. go well."

Liang, who came to Tokyo right after his trip to North Korea, where he met Kim Jong Il, told Kitazawa that he raised the nuclear issue with Kim.

Pyongyang told the Chinese delegation that "North Korea supports the denuclearization of the peninsula," Liang was quoted as saying Friday.

Pyongyang said, "the key to solving the denuclearization of the peninsula also lies in the U.S. . . . if the U.S. were to sign a peace treaty with North Korea, it would denuclearize the state."

Separately Kitazawa told reporters Liang's claim that the situation in Pyongyang was politically and economically stable was a bit puzzling.

But "I think he made such a statement with deep consideration" toward North Korea.

Kitazawa also pushed China, once again, to up transparency over its military expenditures, which have been logging a double-digit increase for the past 21 years.

Denials ring hollow

Staff report

The scholar heading a third-party panel looking into the government's, particularly the Foreign Ministry's, repeated denials that secret diplomatic pacts exist the U.S. cast doubt on the veracity of such claims.

Shinichi Kitaoka, a professor of political science at the University of Tokyo, made the comments as part of a probe into the alleged pacts, including one that reportedly allowed U.S. military ships and aircraft carrying nuclear weapons to enter Japan.



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