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Reports: South Korea, China to seek breakthrough in North Korea nuclear talks

Reports: South Korea, China to seek breakthrough in North Korea nuclear talks

South Korea and China have agreed to seek a "breakthrough" in the next round of international talks on North Korea's nuclear program, including an agreement on detailed steps toward the country's disarmament, news reports said Friday.
South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-soon and his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, agreed to cooperate in seeking the "new breakthrough" at the six-nation nuclear talks, South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple diplomats in Beijing. China, the host of the talks, is North Korea's only major ally.
The breakthrough would involve a written list of initial steps for implementing a 2005 pact in which North Korea pledged to give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees, the newspaper said.
The Chosun Ilbo newspaper and Yonhap news agency carried similar reports.
The 2005 deal is the only agreement reached so far at the six-country North Korea nuclear talks, which have been held since 2003. North Korea conducted its first-ever nuclear weapons test in October.
Song is in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on North Korea and other issues.
He met with Li and Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan on Thursday and discussed "cooperation between South Korea and China for a peaceful resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, without providing details.
Song was to return to South Korea on Saturday.
No date has been set for the next round of nuclear talks, but officials have said they hope to hold them before the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on Feb. 18 this year.
The talks _ among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States _ were last held in December without any breakthrough.
Hopes have increased that substantial progress can be achieved at the next session because North Korea has shown a positive response to a set of U.S. concessions offered during bilateral talks in Berlin last week.


Updated : 2021-02-25 10:50 GMT+08:00