China's foreign minister wants six-party North Korea talks to resume soon

China 's foreign minister said Friday he hopes that stalled six-party talks aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff with North Korea will resume soon. Li Zhaoxing, speaking to reporters after meeting with top EU officials in Vienna, called it "a pity" that the talks have "encountered some difficulties ... because of distrust between the United States and North Korea.

"We hope the talks can be resolved as soon as possible," Li said.

" China hopes the Korean peninsula is a place free of nuclear weapons," he added.

China , Japan , Russia , South Korea and the United States have been engaged in negotiations with North Korea since 2003 that have been aimed at persuading it to abandon its nuclear programs.

The process resulted in a breakthrough in September when the North pledged to give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security assurances. But follow-up negotiations have stalled.

The United States wants to quickly resume the talks with Pyongyang , the U.S. envoy to Seoul said last month, reports the AP.


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