NKorea urged to hold nuclear talks

BEIJING: The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea today called for the quick resumption of talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear drive, with Beijing saying the door was open to making real progress.

The leaders, who pledged to deepen regional cooperation, said they would work together to ensure the success of global climate talks in Copenhagen later this year and promote the development of clean energy technologies.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak also said they “remained committed” to the development of an East Asia community as a “long-term goal”.

But finding a way to bring North Korea back to stalled six-party disarmament talks was clearly the focus of the summit, and Wen — who visited Pyongyang just a week ago — said the international community needed to seize the moment.

“We are faced with an opportunity, but this opportunity may slip by. The key is what we do. We need to seize the opportunity and make the most of it,” Wen told a joint press conference.

“On the issue of the six-party talks,

the DPRK side showed flexibility,” he added. North Korea said Monday during Wen’s visit to Pyongyang — the first by a Chinese premier in 18 years — that it was willing to return to six-party talks but only if it first was granted direct negotiations with the United States.

Washington has said it would agree to bilateral talks within the framework of the six-party disarmament forum, but that the goal must be a complete end to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons drive.