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Last Updated: Friday, 27 October 2006, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Next UN head in China for talks
Ban Ki-moon (left) with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing on 27 October 2006
Mr Hu (right) congratulated Mr Ban for his new appointment
UN Secretary General-elect Ban Ki-moon has held talks in China that were believed to have centred on the recent North Korean nuclear test.

Mr Ban, currently South Korea's foreign minister, met President Hu Jintao as well as China's special envoy to North Korea, Tang Jiaxuan.

At the start of their meeting, President Hu congratulated Mr Ban on his appointment as head of the UN.

Mr Ban has pledged to play an active role in ending the North Korea crisis.

The details of Mr Ban's talks were not immediately released, although prior to his visit both Chinese and South Korean officials said North Korea would be high on their agenda.

Mr Hu praised Mr Ban's appointment, pointing out that it was "the first time in 35 years that an Asian has been elected to the post."

"I believe... you will be able to play a greater role in the maintenance of world peace and common development," he told the South Korean foreign minister.

Major challenge

Mr Ban thanked China - a permanent member of the UN Security Council - for its support of his candidacy to replace Kofi Annan as secretary general, which he formally takes on in January.

"I will make my best efforts on the issue of reform of the UN and other issues concerning the UN," he said.

Mr Ban also met Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and reportedly praised ties between China and South Korea.

He was also due to meet State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, who was the first foreign diplomat to meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il following the country's nuclear test on 9 October.

Earlier in the week, Mr Ban pledged his determination to resolve the situation on the Korean peninsula - and revealed plans to appoint a special UN envoy on North Korea.

The BBC's Dan Griffiths in Beijing says Mr Ban knows that he needs the co-operation of countries like China in the search for a solution.

Beijing is North Korea's closest ally and a key supplier of aid and trade to the secretive regime in Pyongyang.

So far, though, even China has had little success in persuading North Korea back to the negotiating table.

North Korea is already shaping up to be one of the major challenges for Mr Ban during his time at the United Nations, our correspondent says.




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