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N. Korea accepts China's offer for dialogue: Japanese newspaper

All Headlines 10:04 April 20, 2013

TOKYO, April 20 (Yonhap) -- A senior Chinese official, such as top nuclear envoy Wu Dawei, could visit North Korea as Pyongyang indicated its willingness to talk with Beijing about ways to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a Japanese newspaper reported Saturday.

North Korea conveyed the intention to China in mid-April, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported citing an unidentified source. This has made South Korea, the United States and Japan believe that Pyongyang is less likely to press ahead with a medium-range missile launch, it said.

The Musudan missile, which is believed to be capable of reaching as far as the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific, still remains ready for a possible launch, but some missile units have begun withdrawing from the east coast, the report said.

North Korea had previously rejected China's offer to send an official to North Korea for talks, but Pyongyang appears to have changed its stance after the United States emphasized the importance of dialogue to defuse tensions, the report said. It also said that dialogue would gain traction after the U.S.-involved military exercises in the South end late this month.

China's chief nuclear negotiator Wu Dawei or a higher-ranked official could visit North Korea, the paper said. Wu, who is also scheduled to visit the United States next week, could act as a messenger between Washington and Pyongyang, the report said.

North Korea has sharply raised tensions on the Korean Peninsula, threatening attacks on South Korea and the United States, and warning of war in anger over a new U.N. Security Council resolution for its February nuclear test and the annual U.S.-South Korea exercises.

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