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(LEAD) Chief nuclear envoys of Japan, China hold talks on N. Korea

All News 11:46 January 22, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS details in para 5)

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- The chief nuclear envoys of Japan and China held talks in Beijing this week during which they discussed North Korea's nuclear issue, China's foreign ministry said Friday.

Kimihiro Ishikane, director-general of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, met his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, on Thursday, the Chinese ministry said in a brief statement.

The two sides "exchanged views on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue," the statement said, without elaborating further.

The meeting between Ishikane and Wu was held on the same day when U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with senior Chinese officials in Beijing as the U.S. pressed China to join in drawing up tougher U.N. sanctions against North Korea following the North's fourth nuclear test.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said that Blinken and Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui held "frank, constructive discussions on topics of mutual interest, including the response to North Korea's recent nuclear test and maritime issues."

All eyes are on the role of China, which keeps North Korea's moribund economy afloat, after Pyongyang announced on Jan. 6 that it conducted a "successful" test of a hydrogen bomb that marked the isolated regime's fourth nuclear test since 2006.

The latest nuclear test is seen as a diplomatic failure by Chinese President Xi Jinping in trying to rein in the key ally.

While China has said it is "firmly opposed" to the nuclear test, Beijing's leadership has been reluctant to use more leverage over Pyongyang because it could lead to the North's collapse and instability at its border.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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