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China says no visit by Kim

by Staff Writers
Beijing, Sept 14, 2006
China denied reports Thursday that reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was preparing to visit Beijing and reiterated that it was not considering amending a mutual defense treaty with Pyongyang.

"I don't know who has made these reports, but I can tell you that at present there is no such arrangement," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said when asked about the possibility of Kim visiting.

South Korea's independent Hankyoreh daily quoted a Chinese source as saying that a security alert had been issued in a northeastern Chinese city where Kim's train normally crosses over the border into China.

The security alert, to last between Wednesday and Friday, has renewed speculation of an imminent visit by the leader who is known to shun flights.

Tensions in northeast Asia rose markedly when Pyongyang launched a series of ballistic missile tests in July. After declaring itself a nuclear power last year, the isolated country is also feared to be preparing a nuclear test.

Western diplomats in Beijing have said that China, which is seen to have more influence over Pyongyang than any other nation, was greatly shaken by the North Korean missile tests.

But Qin denied reports that China would debate amending its mutual defense treaty with North Korea at an upcoming high-level Communist Party meeting later this year.

"We have no consideration to amend this treaty," Qin said.

"Our position to develop good and friendly relations with the DPRK (North Korea) remains unchanged. The treaty plays an important and positive role in promoting friendly and good neighborly relations with the DPRK."

China's intention was to strengthen its ties with Pyongyang "in order to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninisula," Qin said.

Kyodo news service reported Wednesday that senior Chinese officials were seeking to amend the 1961 treaty that calls on each side to offer aid should the other side come under attack by foreign forces.

Qin on Thursday urged all sides involved in the six-party talks -- aimed at convincing Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program -- to maintain patience and calm and make constructive efforts to resume talks at an early date.

Host China has brought together the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia into the protracted talks, which last met nearly a year ago.

But North Korea angrily walked out of the negotiations after Washington placed financial sanctions on it due to the alleged counterfeiting of US dollars and illegal money laundering activities.

Related Links

Chinese premier warns against sanctions on Iran
Berlin, Sept 14, 2006
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned on Thursday that imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme could achieve the opposite of what the international community wanted.

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