Gyeongju: North Korean leader
Kim Jong Il denied Pyongyang`s alleged involvement in the
sinking of a South Korean warship during his visit to China
early this month, sources close to six-party denuclearising
"North Korea has maintained that it has nothing to do
with the sinking" of the 1,200-ton patrol ship Cheonan in late
March, the sources quoted China as telling South Korea, the
United States, Japan and other countries about Kim`s visit to
China from May 3 to 7.
China indicated that Kim and Chinese President Hu Jintao
discussed the issue during talks in Beijing, the sources said.
North Korea is suspected to be responsible for the
incident, which occurred near the South`s western sea border
with the North and killed 46 sailors. An international
investigation team has yet to determine the cause.
During the China trip, Kim did not respond to Beijing`s
three-step proposal to resume the stalled six-party talks on
North Korea`s nuclear programs, according to the sources.
As China failed to win Kim`s agreement to the proposal,
some involved in the multilateral nuclear talks said North
Korea "effectively moved back its position" on the
The sinking of the Cheonan and the six-way talks are
likely to top the agenda when foreign ministers of Japan,
China and South Korea meet this weekend in Gyeongju,
southeastern South Korea.
South Korean officials said Seoul will announce results
of the ongoing investigation in the Cheonan case around May
In February, China sounded out other six-party members --
North and South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States --
on a three-step proposal to revive the six-party talks, which
Pyongyang quit last year.