MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) — Hwang Joon-kook, South Korea's nuclear envoy, plans to visit Beijing on Thursday, October 30, in order to discuss North Korea's nuclear program with his Chinese counterparts.
"South Korea's top nuclear envoy will travel to China this week to discuss efforts to revive long-stalled international nuclear negotiations with North Korea, a diplomatic source said Monday. Hwang Joon-kook plans to meet his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, and other officials in Beijing on Thursday, the source said on the condition of anonymity," Yonhap, South Korea's media source reported.
Hwang Joon-kook's talks with Wu Dawei will be devoted to a thorough discussion of "the overall situation on the Korean Peninsula, including nuclear and other issues of North Korea," the official statement says, as quoted by the Korea Herald.
North Korea's nuclear program has caused deep concerns among its neighboring states. Xinhua notes that the DPRK's (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea) technology "to miniaturize nuclear weapons appears to have reached a significant level," citing South Korea's Defense Minister Han Min-koo.
The top defense official believes that "the DPRK is capable of building uranium-based atomic bombs," Xinhua emphasizes. It is worth mentioning that Pyongyang has already conducted three nuclear tests in the last eight years.
"It is estimated that (the DPRK's) miniaturization technology (for nuclear weapons) has reached a significant level. It is appropriate for the military to maintain readiness based on such assessment," Han Min-koo said, as cited by Xinhua.
The last six-party nuclear negotiations between North Korea, South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan were held in December 2008. However, North Korea has carried out two nuclear tests since that time. Although Pyongyang is insisting on "unconditional resumption" of the talks, Seoul and Washington urge North Korea's leadership to demonstrate its "denuclearization commitment" first, Yonhap underscores.
Remarkably, Hwang Joon-kook's visit to China's capital will coincide with an arrival of Sydney Seiler, the US special envoy for the six-party negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program, in Beijing.