North may hold talks with Chinese, report says

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North may hold talks with Chinese, report says

Pyongyang is moving closer to dialogue with Beijing amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula, according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun.

The North was “willing to talk to Beijing,” the newspaper said Saturday, citing a source knowledgeable about North Korean affairs.

China will likely send Wu Dawei, the special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs and chairman of the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear issues, or some other high-ranking official to Pyongyang for discussions, it added.

Beijing would be expected to urge North Korea into dialogue with the United States or return to the six-party talks, according to the report.

The Asahi Shimbun assumed that dialogue with Pyongyang would start after the conclusion of Seoul-Washington military exercises on April 30.

In the meantime, the North has reportedly moved two additional mobile missile launchers to the eastern coast ahead of the anniversary of the nation’s army. They are believed to be able to test short-range Scud missiles.

“We have detected that Pyongyang has deployed two transporter-erector launchers .?.?. to the eastern coast in South Hamgyong Province,” a senior South Korean government source told Yonhap News Agency yesterday.

The source said that Pyongyang had previously placed seven launchers in the region, including those for mid-range Musudan missiles, bringing the total to nine.

However, a South Korean government official in charge of foreign affairs and national security denied that there were any specific movements, including those involving additional missile launchers.

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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