China, North Korea hold military talks

The defense ministers of China and North Korea discussed efforts to boost relations and cooperation between their armies during talks in Pyongyang on Tuesday, the North's media reported. China 's defense minister, Cao Gangchuan, arrived in the North earlier in the day as part of an Asian tour that will also take him to Malaysia , Singapore , South Korea and Vietnam .

His trip came as the stalled six-nation talks on North Korea 's nuclear program showed no sign of resumption. However, U.S. officials in Tokyo said Tuesday that delegates from the six countries involved in the nuclear talks will meet at a private security conference in Japan next week. Cao held talks with his North Korean counterpart, Vice Marshal of the Korean People's Army Kim Il Chol, in a "comradely and friendly atmosphere," the North's Korean Central News Agency said.

"Both sides exchanged views on boosting the traditional relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries and the two armies and issues of mutual concern," KCNA said. It didn't elaborate further on what was discussed at the meeting, including whether the nuclear issue was taken up.

China is the North's last major ally and fought on the country's side during the 1950-53 Korean War. Beijing is also the host of international arms talks seeking to convince the North to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The negotiations haven't been held since November and have failed to make any progress on implementing a September agreement where the North pledged to disarm, reports the AP.


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