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South Korean FM Meets with Chinese Officials on North Korean Nuclear Ambitions

  • VOA News

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon - soon to be the new U.N. secretary-general - has met with Chinese leaders to discuss sanctions against North Korea for its recent nuclear test.

China's official news agency, Xinhua, reports than Ban met with President Hu Jintao and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in Beijing Friday. He also was scheduled to meet with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, who last week had talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

The officials will consider how to implement a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at punishing Pyongyang for detonating an underground nuclear device October ninth.

North Korea's official news agency today quoted a government spokesman as saying it would be foolish to attempt to interfere in the North's internal affairs.

China and South Korea approved the financial and weapons sanctions that are stipulated in the resolution. But they are reluctant to heighten tensions with North Korea and are calling for a peaceful, diplomatic end to the crisis.

China is urging a resumption of the stalled six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to stop its nuclear activities.

On Wednesday, South Korea took its first steps to implement the U.N. sanctions, announcing a travel ban on North Koreans with suspected ties to their country's nuclear program.

Seoul also said it would increase inspections of North Korean vessels believed to be carrying banned goods.

South Korea's foreign minister will become the next U.N. secretary-general in January. Ban has pledged to focus on the North Korean issue in his new job.
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