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Report: N. Korea not planning second nuke test

Story Highlights

• Rice holds talks with China, North Korea's key ally, to enforce U.N. sanctions
• Report: North Korea doesn't intend a second nuclear test
• Chinese officials unaware of Kim remarks expressing regret about test
• U.N. imposed trade, travel bans on North after October 9 nuclear test
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BEIJING, China (CNN) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told a visiting Chinese delegation that the communist nation was not planning a second nuclear weapons test, a South Korean news agency reported Friday.

The news agency, Yonhap, attributed the information to a diplomatic source in Beijing.

Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan led a delegation that met Kim on Thursday in Pyongyang to deliver a message from Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The report came as China and the United States urged North Korea to break the stalemate and return to peaceful dialogue. Watch why the United States is leaning on China -- 1:46)

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing called for "coolheadedness" by all parties, while his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, spoke of "a path to negotiation."

Speaking at a joint news conference with Rice in Beijing, Li said, "We hope all relevant parties can maintain coolheadedness, adopt a prudent and responsible attitude and adhere to peaceful dialogue as the main approach.

"We are willing to strengthen consultations and cooperation with all parties to break the stalemate and restart the six-party talks as soon as possible," he added.

The six-party talks, featuring the United States, the two Koreas, Japan, Russia and China, stalled last year after restrictions from Washington were imposed on Pyongyang's external financing.

Rice said she and Li spoke Friday about leaving "a path to negotiation through the six-party talks" open, but only if Pyongyang returns to the talks "without condition."

North Korea previously has declined returning to multilateral negotiations on its nuclear weapons program as long as financial sanctions are imposed.

Rice told CNN's Zain Verjee that China's message to North Korea was that U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 must be observed and China will observe it.

The measure, adopted unanimously Saturday after Pyongyang's October 9 nuclear test, prohibits trade with North Korea of any materials or weapons that could be used by its ballistic missile and weapons programs. The sanctions also call for inspections of all cargo leaving and arriving in the country.

"The Chinese obviously wanted to send a message to the North that they had engaged in very serious behavior that China did not support," Rice said. "They also want very much to try and get a return to the diplomatic path and to the six-party talks."

Rice will conclude her talks Saturday with a scheduled visit to Moscow, Russia.

Kim reportedly 'regrets' test; Chinese unaware of remarks

The North Korean leader reportedly told a Chinese envoy that "if the United States made some concessions, then we would make some concessions as well, whether they be in the form of bilateral talks or in the form of the six-party talks," according to South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. (Full story)

The report appeared a day after Tang, the Chinese state councilor, met with Kim in Pyongyang.

Chosun Ilbo reported that Kim conveyed his regrets to Beijing "for the nuclear test," which raised fears of a regional arms race and nuclear terrorism.

Asked to respond to the report, Chinese officials said they were not aware of any such comments by Kim, but Li was overheard telling Rice that Tang's trip "was not in vain."

China's role is critical because it's likely the only nation that can persuade North Korea to return to the six-party talks.

Beijing provides a lifeline to North Korea by providing most of its fuel and food, and Chinese officials are angry that the North ignored Beijing's warning against conducting a nuclear test.

Beijing also is worried that if Pyongyang feels too pressured, "they'll put North Korea in a corner, and that dog may bite," CNN's Verjee reports.

Report: South stops joint tourism venture

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported Thursday that Seoul decided to halt subsidies to a joint tourism venture to the North's Diamond Mountain that has been operating since 1998.

The report, which did not cite any source, also said the South was planning to inspect cargo heading to the North and North Korean ships that stop at South Korean ports.

Similar discussions were agreed to between Washington and Tokyo during a meeting Thursday between Rice and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported. (Full story)

Officials: U.S. suspicious of North Korean ship

The United States suspected a North Korean merchant ship that recently left port might be carrying equipment banned by just-passed U.N. sanctions, two U.S. officials said Thursday.

One U.S. military official said the ship has been known in the past to carry military equipment, but that the U.S. has no idea of the nature of its current cargo.

The ship left a port southwest of Pyongyang, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A second official with access to U.S. intelligence confirmed the ship had left port and was being tracked, but cautioned he was not aware of any evidence the ship is carrying contraband.

"It's not necessarily nefarious," the second official said.


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