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Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 11:06 UK

China visit sparks N Korea hopes

Kim Jong Il and Wen Jiabao 4.10.09
Mr Wen received red carpet treatment when he arrived in North Korea

North Korea has indicated that it may once again be ready to talk about its nuclear programmes.

The message came during a meeting in Pyongyang between the prime minister, Kim Yong-il, and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao.

According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Mr Kim said his country was willing to have bilateral and multi-lateral talks on the issue.

But there was no solid commitment to rejoin stalled six-party negotiations.

North Korea withdrew from these talks - which also involve China, the US, Japan, Russia and South Korea - in April, and conducted its second nuclear test in May, raising regional tensions.

But in recent weeks it has issued more conciliatory statements.

Warm welcome

Wen Jiabao is currently spending his second day in North Korea - part of a three-day trip that China says is to mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Regional neighbours hope the visit will also help restart stalled nuclear talks.

The importance of Mr Wen's visit was underlined when he was met on arrival on Sunday by leader Kim Jong-il.

On Sunday the two countries signed a series of co-operation deals, Chinese state media reported.

Top leader Kim Jong-il later accompanied Mr Wen to a Korean opera, Xinhua news agency said, where the two held "friendly talks".

Mr Wen is being accompanied on his visit by China's foreign minister.

China is North Korea's biggest trading partner and is the country which holds the greatest sway over the communist regime.



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