China hopes for resumption of six-party talks to stop North Korea's weapons programme

In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with those six countries to suspend its nuclear programme in return for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Munich, Germany Feb 17, 2017, 09.18 PM (IST)

China has not given up hope for a new round of diplomacy with North Korea to prevent Pyongyang making further advances in its weapons programme in violation of UN resolutions, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

North Korea said this week it had successfully test-fired a new type of medium- to long-range ballistic missile. State-run KCNA news agency said leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test of the weapon capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

"There are still opportunities for the resumption of six-party talks," Wang told the Munich Security Conference, referring to talks with the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. "We should work to bring the parties back to the table."

In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with those six countries to suspend its nuclear programme in return for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance.

Negotiations collapsed after the last round of talks in 2008, with North Korea declaring the deal void after refusing inspections to verify compliance and leading to a series of new sanctions on Pyongyang, as well as international condemnation.

"We hope for all parties concerned will refrain from taking further actions that may lead to escalations of the tensions," Wang said.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests, including two last year, although its claims to be able to miniaturise a nuclear weapon to be mounted on a missile have never been verified independently.

(Reuters)