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Chinese party official says no nuclear discussion held with N. Korea.

PYONGYANG, April 20 Kyodo

A senior official of the Chinese Communist Party visiting Pyongyang said Friday he did not discuss North Korea's nuclear programs during a meeting with his North Korean counterpart earlier in the week.

Liu Hongcai, deputy head of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, also told Kyodo News that Choe Thae Bok, secretary of the Central committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, was the only senior North Korean official he met with during his stay.

''We are a delegation of the (CPC) International Department, so our main purpose is to strengthen exchanges between the two parties,'' Liu said at a Pyongyang hotel.

''I didn't come here to talk about nuclear issues,'' he said when asked whether he discussed North Korea's nuclear programs during his talks with Choe.

He said he did not meet with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, the head of North Korea's delegation to the six-party nuclear talks, or any other government officials.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday that the Chinese delegation led by Liu met with Choe at the Mansudae Assembly Hall on the same day for ''a friendly talk,'' without elaborating on the content of the discussion.

The Chinese delegation arrived in the North Korean capital on Tuesday. Liu said it was leaving Pyongyang for Beijing on Saturday.

The delegation's visit had triggered speculation that China may try to use the opportunity to make progress on the nuclear issue, as it came shortly after the six parties missed the April 14 deadline for implementing initial actions aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Under a Feb. 13 deal reached by the six parties, North Korea was to take initial measures for abandoning its nuclear programs by April 14, in exchange for other parties starting energy aid.

The six parties are North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Apr 23, 2007
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