'Embattled' North Korea says now open to six-party talks, seeks China's economic help

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New Delhi, May 8 (ANI): North Korea's controversial leader, Kim Jong-il has declared that his country is willing to rekindle the suspended six-party talks, he announced on Friday.

"North Korea is willing, together with all parties, to discuss creating favourable conditions for restarting the Six-Party Talks," China Daily quoted Kim Jong-il as saying. The six party talks will also include the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

"Both sides (China and the North Korea) think all parties of the talks should show their sincerity and make active efforts to promote the Six-Party Talks process," he was quoted as saying in a Xinhua report.

However, analysts say the talks are unlikely to reopen soon despite Kim's positive signals.

"The US and South Korea are not active on (restarting the talks) as they think the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula is too complicated. They just don't want the situation to get out of control," said Wang Fan, director of China Foreign Affairs University's institute of international relations.

"There's still no clear timetable to reopen the talks," he added.

North Korea might give up its nuclear plans; Pyongyang just needs a "favourable external environment" to do so, said Wang.

According to China Daily, Kim Jong-il has visited various industrial sites in China and is reportedly highly impressed and inspired by China's economic prosperity while steadily treading the path of socialism.

The North Korea leader placed great emphasis on economic cooperation during the visit due to a failed currency reform and the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula, analysts said.

Trade, aid and investment are desperately needed in North Korea and Kim's tour was aimed at sending a message that he is interested in economic reform.

Zhou Yongsheng, a Beijing-based researcher on East Asian affairs, told China Daily that North Korea has been entangled in a serious economic crisis and China is crucial to its fight for economic survival, providing Pyongyang with food, fuel and much-needed investment.

However, due to the current situation in there, it is difficult for Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in the country, he said, adding, "North Korea needs badly to act according to the international convention and improve its investment environment."

North Korea's foreign currency supply is steadily drying up after joint economic projects with South Korea were halted. (ANI)

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