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(LEAD) S. Korea, China express 'deep concern' over N. Korea's nuclear advance

All Headlines 16:36 October 31, 2014

(ATTN: UPDATES with nuclear envoy's quotes in first 3 paras; CHANGES headline; TRIMS)

BEIJING, Oct. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and China expressed "deep concern" over North Korea's advances of its nuclear and missile capabilities and agreed to continue efforts to prevent the North from further developing such capabilities, Seoul's chief nuclear envoy said Friday.

Hwang Joon-kook made the remarks after talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, in Beijing, adding that South Korea and China pledged to make joint efforts to resume a "meaningful dialogue" on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

"We exchange deep concern about North Korea's advances of nuclear and missile capabilities and, with a sense of urgency, agreed to continue to make close cooperation to curb such advances," Hwang told a group of South Korean correspondents.

Hwang arrived in Beijing on Thursday after making a rare, three-day visit to China's northeastern provinces, where thousands of North Korean defectors are believed to be hiding before eventually resettling to South Korea.

It was the first time that a South Korean chief nuclear envoy visited Shenyang and other Chinese border towns with North Korea, Seoul officials said.

The six-party talks, involving South Korea, North Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, were last held in December 2008. North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests since then.

North Korea wants an unconditional resumption of the six-party talks, but South Korea and the U.S. demand that Pyongyang first take concrete steps to show its denuclearization commitment. South Korea and the U.S. have also urged China to do more in reining in North Korea.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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