Signs of Progress Accompany Rice in China

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits China to coordinate with officials there on enforcement of a U.N. resolution against North Korea. There are indications that the U.S., China and North Korea may be ready to return to six-party talks over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in China, attempting to coordinate the international response to North Korea's nuclear test.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports.

ANTHONY KUHN: Secretary of State Rice met with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Afterwards she told reporters that China had reconsidered its relations with North Korea and found new resolve to deal firmly with its neighbor. She said she discussed with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing how to stop North Korea from exporting dangerous weapons.

Ms. CONDOLEEZZA RICE (U.S. Secretary of State): The minister and I have talked about the importance of full implementation of Resolution 1718, so that we can make certain that there is not a transit and trade in illegal materials.

KUHN: Rice also met with State Counselor Tang Jiaxuan. She says that yesterday in Pyongyang, Tang delivered a personal message to North Korean leader Kin Jong Il about the seriousness of the recent nuclear test. The U.S. and China repeated calls for North Korea to return to six party negotiations, but Rice said the U.S. was not about to drop its financial sanctions against North Korea. China has quietly placed its own sanctions on the North. Two major Chinese banks on the North Korean border confirmed to NPR today that they've stopped all financial transactions between China and North Korea since the nuclear test.

Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Beijing.

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