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French envoy in Beijing on way to Pyongyang talks

 Jack Lang gestures during an interview with The Associated Press in Paris, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.  Nicolas Sarkozy is once again wading into internati...
 Jack Lang gestures during an interview with The Associated Press in Paris, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009.  Nicolas Sarkozy is once again wading into internati...

FRANCE'S KOREAN FORAY

Jack Lang gestures during an interview with The Associated Press in Paris, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009. Nicolas Sarkozy is once again wading into internati...

FRANCE'S KOREAN FORAY

Jack Lang gestures during an interview with The Associated Press in Paris, Monday, Nov. 2, 2009. Nicolas Sarkozy is once again wading into internati...

France's envoy for North Korea arrived in Beijing on Thursday on his way to Pyongyang for talks on establishing diplomatic relations.
France is one of only two European nations that don't have diplomatic ties with the North, and Jack Lang said he didn't expect any immediate breakthroughs.
Lang said his delegation would also discuss other current issues, referring to what observers believe is the true purpose of his trip: a long-shot bid to achieve a breakthrough in the North's nuclear standoff with the outside world.
"We will see whether it is desirable and possible to establish bilateral relations," said Lang, a former French culture minister. "On the other hand, our delegation will be there to hear the sentiments of the authorities in Pyongyang on other ongoing current matters. This is normal."
Lang has called the trip a listening mission and said he wouldn't rule out any options in Pyongyang, including offering possible European aid in return for concessions on the nuclear issue.
His trip comes as negotiations aimed at mothballing North Korea's nuclear programs remain stalled. The talks hosted by China also involve both Koreas, the United States, Japan, and Russia.
The North pulled out of those talks earlier this year after the U.N. Security Council levied new sanctions to punish its April nuclear test. But leader Kim Jong Il recently offered to return to negotiations if the U.S. agrees to one-on-one talks.
In what appeared to be an effort to increase pressure on Washington, the North claimed Tuesday it had finished reprocessing thousands of spent nuclear fuel rods to extract plutonium to bolster its atomic stockpile.
Beyond the stated aim of progress on diplomatic ties, France is hoping to up its diplomatic profile. Untainted by ties to the bloodshed of the Korean War, France is hoping to be seen as a neutral, trustworthy player.


Updated : 2021-07-26 13:38 GMT+08:00