Ban visits China for North Korea talks

Posted in China , Koreas , UN , Other | 27-Oct-06 | Source: International Herald Tribune

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, left, and Chinese President Hu Jintao, right, gesture at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Friday October 27, 2006.

BEIJING South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon arrived in Beijing on Friday for talks with Chinese leaders on how to implement sanctions against North Korea agreed to in response to its Oct. 9 nuclear test.

Ban, who takes over as United Nations secretary-general in January, was to meet his counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan and President Hu Jintao. He was also to discuss U.N. affairs during his one-day visit.

"Since the Security Council has already adopted the resolution (on sanctions), how to implement the Security Council resolution will also be a topic," Wang Guangya, China's ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters at the airport after greeting Ban.

"But for China, we will strictly implement the Security Council resolution," he said.

China and South Korea, the North's closest neighbours, both supported weapons and financial sanctions passed against Pyongyang, but questions remain as to how they will be implemented in the face of threats from North Korea and fears of instability.

North Korea warned of the risk of war earlier this week if South Korea joined the sanctions, but on Thursday Seoul went ahead with a ban on the entry of North Koreans involved in Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programmes.

But it has yet to say whether it will suspend projects it operates in the North that provide a connection to the outside world -- and hard currency -- for Pyongyang.

China also fears that squeezing North Korea too tightly could cause an economic collapse that would destabilise the region and potentially send a flood of refugees into its borders.

Tang, who visited Pyongyang last week, returned with a warning that goading from the international community could push North Korea to defy warnings and carry out a second nuclear test.