China Says N. Korea Willing to Take Advice to Start Talks

Created: 2013-05-24 08:34 EST

Category: World > Asia Pacific

North Korea is willing to take China's advice and enter into talks, according to Chinese state television, which cited an envoy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

It’s following weeks of tension on the Korean peninsula after the North's latest nuclear test.

However, the prospect of talks seems unlikely.

North Korea has repeatedly said it will not abandon nuclear weapons, while the U.S. insists on steps toward denuclearization before there can be talks.

Ties have been hurt between the two supposed allies by the North's third nuclear test in February, despite China's disapproval.

China fears any conflict would inevitably have disastrous consequences for its country.

China is considered North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer.

The U.S. and its allies believe the North violated a 2005 aid-for-denuclearization deal by conducting a nuclear test in 2006.

The North pursued a uranium enrichment program that would give it a second path to a nuclear weapon, in addition to its plutonium-based program.

Six-party aid-for-disarmament talks, involving the two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, Russia and host China, collapsed in 2008 when the North walked away from the deal.

The envoy is a long-time political administrator and was surprisingly made a vice marshal in the army last year, despite having no military background.