09/04/2006, 00.00
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Beijing "summons" North Korean leader Kim Jong-il

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young
The Chinese government wants to stop Pyongyang from conducting missile and nuclear tests that are a violation of a UN Security Council resolution. North Korea's answer is to ban Chinese visitors from entering the Communist nation.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The Chinese government has decided to invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to visit Beijing, in an effort to persuade him not to test missiles and nuclear weapon against the wishes of the international community, a South Korean government official was quoted as saying.

Beijing has decided to invite Kim in what seems more like a summons amid reports that the Communist regime may be preparing its first test of a nuclear bomb. Should this happen, the test is bound to draw a harsh military and economic response from the United States, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

The official said Kim was expected to leave for Beijing when China's new ambassador to Pyongyang Liu Xiaoming arrives in the North this week.

Relations between Pyongyang and Beijing were compromised after Pyongyang launched seven ballistic missiles into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan on July 4 and 5. They did not cause any damage but despite Beijing's opposition, the North's largest donor, they were clearly a warning against Japan.

Beijing voted in favour of a UN Security Council resolution on July 15 that condemned the North's provocative act and prohibited all UN member nations, including China, from engaging in any missile-related dealings with the North.

Last week a Communist party paper in China expressed support for Washington's ban of North Korean goods in case of new threats from Kim Jong-il.

In response, North Korea banned almost all mainland visitors, except Korean nationals living in China and Chinese businessmen with interests in the country, from entering.

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