China 'welcomes' talks between North and South Korea: Is it Worked....?

(The - China said it would "support and welcome" any dialogue between North and South Korea, following Pyongyang's offer of "unconditional" negotiations with Seoul.

"We support and welcome relevant parties to have contact and dialogue, and make active interactions to jointly steer the situation to a desirable direction," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.
"China always believes that dialogue and consultation are the only effective approach to solving peninsula-related issues. China will continue to play a constructive role to this end."

On Wednesday, Pyongyang offered "unconditional" negotiations with the South, in its most conciliatory remarks since the nuclear-armed state sent tensions on the peninsula soaring in November by shelling a South Korean island.

In an unusually cordial statement, carried by its KCNA news agency, North Korea said it "courteously proposes having wide-ranging dialogue and negotiations".

China is North Korea's sole major ally and its economic lifeline.

Beijing is also the host of the stalled six-party negotiations on ending Pyongyang's nuclear drive, which bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

"We hope relevant parties make joint efforts to resume the six-party talks at an early date," Mr Hong said.

The comments from Beijing came as the top US envoy on North Korea wrapped up a lightning visit to China focused on reducing tensions on the peninsula – talks which he described as "useful", according to the US embassy.

Stephen Bosworth, who arrived in Beijing on Wednesday following talks with South Korean officials in Seoul, met his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei and Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, embassy spokesman Richard Buangan said.

"Ambassador Bosworth and Chinese counterparts had useful consultations on how to coordinate moving forward in dealing with North Korea," Mr Buangan said in a statement.

When asked about Mr Bosworth's visit, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the two sides had "agreed to continue to be committed to safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and promoting the six-party talks".


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