Japan, China discuss Korean peninsula
Beijing (CNN) — Chinese and Japanese leaders held talks Monday to discuss peace and stability on the Korean peninsula following the recent death of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Il, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Monday, wrapping up his trip to Beijing to discuss cooperation between the two countries.
“The two sides believe that maintaining peace and stability of the Korean peninsula serves the common interests of all parties,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Monday. “The two sides are ready to make concerted efforts to realize peace and stability of the Korean peninsula.”
During Noda’s visit, discussions over the stability of the Korean peninsula overshadowed traditionally controversial issues between the countries — including issues of disputed islands and energy disagreements in the East China Sea.
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Both sides also signed energy conservation and environmental protection agreements, along with an announcement that the two sides will use their own currencies in bilateral trade rather than U.S. dollars in an effort to encourage economic cooperation.
Noda, in his first visit to Beijing since taking power in September, is the first foreign leader to visit with China’s leaders since Kim’s death. Both sides touched on the importance of resuming the six-party North Korean nuclear talks in an effort to promote the long-term stability of the region, according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.
Kim’s death was announced by Pyongyang on December 19 and has put the region on edge, as the world waits to see how North Korea’s succession will play out.
In an effort to improve North and South relations, an 18-member civilian delegation of South Korean citizens arrived in Pyongyang on Monday to express condolences after the death of the Kim, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.