US envoy Campbell arrives for talks on Korean Peninsula

Updated: 2012-01-04 07:41

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks with senior Chinese officials on the latest developments in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Myanmar, according to the US embassy in Beijing.

After his stay in Beijing, Campbell will visit the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan, which are participants in the Six-Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that also include the DPRK, China, the United States and Russia.

US envoy Campbell arrives for talks on Korean Peninsula
Kurt Campbell, US assistant secretary of state for East
Asian and Pacific affairs 

"He (Campbell) is arriving today and he is meeting with senior officials to discuss a range of important bilateral, regional, and global issues, including the latest developments related to (the DPRK and Myanmar)," said US embassy spokesman Richard Buangan.

An official with the Foreign Ministry's spokesman's office told China Daily that Campbell will leave Beijing on Wednesday afternoon, without providing further details about his stay here.

In a recent article, Douglas Paal, vice-president for studies at the US think tank the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the time has come for the US president to propose to his Chinese counterpart that "trusted, empowered emissaries meet somewhere out of sight to seek and offer important assurances" over the uncertainties on the Korean Peninsula.

According to the ROK newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun, two top DPRK officials, Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, and Chang Sung-taek, vice-chairman of the country's National Defense Commission and brother-in-law of late leader Kim Jong-il, will visit China on Jan 10.

They will meet top legislator Wu Bangguo in northeastern China, which borders the DPRK, and oil and food aid will be discussed during their two-day visit, according to the newspaper.

Yang Xiyu, a researcher on DPRK studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said China and the DPRK would maintain close communication and coordination on important issues.

"Now the sudden death of Kim Jong-il has left the DPRK with a period of power transition. It is natural for the two sides to communicate at this time," Yang said on Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

Campbell is the most senior US diplomat to visit the region since Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack on Dec 17.

Before Campbell's visit, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held separate phone conversations with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton and his ROK counterpart Kim Sung-hwan on Dec 20, according to the Foreign Ministry.

They exchanged views on the death of Kim Jong-il and the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Yang said safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula serves the common interests of all parties, and China is ready to work with them toward that end.

Agreeing on the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula, both Clinton and Kim Sung-hwan said they would maintain close communication and coordination with China in this regard.

Wang Chenyan contributed to this story.

China Daily