Chinese official sees chance to reopen nuclear talks with N. Korea

BEIJING, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- A senior Chinese military official said he sees a chance to resume nuclear talks with North Korea, according to state media on Wednesday, citing recent signs of easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Guan Youfei, the director of the external affairs office of China's defense ministry, made the remarks during a press conference in Washington, D.C. as he accompanied Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan on a visit to the United States this week, Xinhua News Agency reported.

North Korea's nuclear standoff was one of the key topics during this week's talks between U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chang, Guan said.

"An opportunity or a window has emerged to open talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue," the report said, with Guan citing "signs of eased tensions" on the Korean Peninsula and North Korea's "willingness to conduct multilateral talks."

After stoking tensions early this year by conducting its third nuclear test, North Korea has recently made overtures toward South Korea and the U.S.

In the latest sign of easing tensions, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed last week to reopen a jointly run industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong that was shuttered in April amid high tensions.

The six-party talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear program have been stalled since late 2008. The multilateral forum involves the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

South Korea and the U.S. have called on North Korea to demonstrate its seriousness about denuclearization through concrete actions before such talks can take place.

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