Top US diplomat in China for NKorea talks

Kim`s death has sparked concerns over the stability of the isolated, nuclear-armed nation.

Updated: Jan 03, 2012, 23:48 PM IST

Beijing: Senior US diplomat Kurt Campbell
arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss North Korea after the
death of Kim Jong-Il, a US embassy spokesman said.

Campbell, the assistant secretary for East Asian and
Pacific affairs, is the first US diplomat to visit North
Korea`s closest ally since the leader of the Stalinist state
died from a heart attack on December 17.

Kim`s death has sparked concerns over the stability of
the isolated, nuclear-armed nation, where famine killed
hundreds of thousands in the 1990s and where severe food
shortages persist.

A spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing said
Campbell had arrived on Tuesday evening.

He said Campbell would meet senior officials tomorrow "to
discuss a range of important bilateral, regional, and global
issues, including the latest developments related to North
Korea and Burma."

China is a key ally of Myanmar, also known as Burma,
which has made tentative steps at reform by opening talks with
the opposition and ethnic minorities.

But the future of North Korea is likely to dominate
Campbell`s trip, which will also take him to South Korea and
Japan before he returns to Washington on Saturday.

In the hours after the announcement of Kim`s death on
December 19, China`s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held phone
talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the
importance of ensuring security on the Korean peninsula.

China has thrown its support behind Kim`s successor, his
son Kim Jong-Un, as it seeks to ensure stability in the
isolated nation.

PTI