Rice urges China to use influence with North Korea

February 26th, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, Feb 26 (DPA) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday urged China to use all its influence to persuade North Korea to implement a six-nation agreement on ending its nuclear weapons programme. “I am expecting from China what I am expecting from others: that we will use all influence possible with the North Koreans to convince them that it is time to move forward,” Rice told reporters after talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

North Korea failed to meet an agreed deadline to disclose full details of its nuclear programmes by the end of last year.

The six-party agreement was part of a deal last February for North Korea to disable and later dismantle its main nuclear facilities in return for energy aid and other concessions.

“We are the cusp of something very special here,” Rice said of the possibility that North Korea could become only the third nation, after South Africa and Libya, to dismantle a nuclear weapons programme.

“Now it is time to move on because the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula is in everyone’s interest,” she said at a joint press conference with Yang.

Yang said China was involved in “close talks” with North Korea and hoped to see the agreement “implemented in a balanced, integrated way.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said both sides were “satisfied with the improvement on the (North) Korean nuclear issue” despite the missed deadline.

“The relevant parties should cherish the hard-won results,” Liu told reporters.

“We hope the relevant parties can work together to press ahead with the six-party talks and conclude this stage as soon as possible,” he said of the negotiations involving North Korea, the US, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Yang and Rice also agreed to resume a bilateral dialogue on human rights at a date still to be fixed, Liu said.

Rice reiterated US opposition to plans for a referendum in Taiwan next month on the island’s UN membership.

She was also scheduled to meet President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao before leaving Beijing for Tokyo Wednesday.

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