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China's chief nuke envoy flies into Seoul for N.K. talks

China's chief nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul on Sunday for talks with key South Korean officials to coordinate the countries' response to North Korea's recent nuclear and long-range rocket tests.

Wu Dawei is scheduled to first meet with his South Korean counterpart Hwang Joon-kook Sunday afternoon before holding talks with Seoul's foreign minister a day later, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"As strategic partners, China and South Korea could discuss any kinds of issues between us," Wu said after arriving at Incheon International Airport earlier in the day.

The dialogue between the countries' chief negotiators for the long-stalled six-party talks on denuclearizing North Korea came after Washington and Beijing agreed on a set of stringent draft sanctions on North Korea for the recent tests.

On Jan. 6, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in defiance of United Nations resolutions and followed it up with a long-range rocket launch a month later.

The North said the launch was to put a satellite into orbit, but the outside world regards it as a cover for testing its long-range missile technology.

The planned talks between Hwang and Wu will likely touch upon some thorny issues between the neighbors, including how to jointly push North Korea into compliance with a fresh U.N. resolution.

Following the two recent provocations by the North, Seoul has been determined to put more pressure on Pyongyang, but Beijing has stricken a slightly different tone, highlighting dialogue over pressure.

The talks will likely be dominated by other salient issues, including the United States' push to deploy its advanced missile defense system, known as THAAD, in South Korea, which is strongly opposed by China.

Other issues include separate sanctions on North Korea, which South Korea is planning to make in coordination with the U.S. and Japan.

On Monday, Wu will hold talks with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-seo and other key security officials before returning to China on Thursday. (Yonhap)

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