China seeks fresh nuclear talks as Kim eludes cameras

There have been no conclusive sightings in China of N Korean leader Kim.

Seoul: China is lobbying neighbours to sign up to a road map for renewed nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong-il is apparently visiting China amid conciliatory words and threats of atomic "holy war”.

The details of Beijing`s plan for restarting stalled six-party nuclear talks came from a South Korean diplomatic source, who spoke on Saturday after discussion in Seoul with Wu Dawei, China`s top envoy in the talks.

But the source, as well as a Japanese official speaking in Beijing, stressed that big obstacles remained in the way of new talks, even if the secretive Kim`s reported trip to China yields another vow of North Korea`s willingness to sit down and discuss a dormant deal to scrap its nuclear weapons in return for aid.

"We don`t want to restart six-party talks for the sake of talks," the South Korean diplomatic source said.

"North Korea should change its attitude and show seriousness in denuclearising."

China`s regional lobbying, and courting of the reclusive Kim, highlight the pressures that North Korea -- isolated, poor and with a brace of primitive nuclear bombs -- has brought to bear on northeast Asia, home to the world`s second and third biggest economies and a big US military presence.

There have been no conclusive sightings in China of the 68-year-old Kim, who has appeared frail and gaunt since reportedly suffering a stroke in 2008. But motorcades of black cars and extensive security in Changchun, a northeast Chinese city, indicate he may be there, after entering China on Thursday.

The two neighbours do not disclose much information about Kim`s travels, and only do so after he has left for home.

Bureau Report

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