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S.Korean FM seeks talks on North with US, Russia, Japan

SEOUL, Monday 29 November 2010 (AFP) - South Korea's foreign minister is seeking talks this week with his US, Russian and Japanese counterparts on North Korea's artillery attacks and China's response to the crisis, officials said Monday.

While most powers have reacted with outrage to Pyongyang's strikes, which killed four people, its last remaining major ally China has refrained from condemning North Korea and instead called for multi-nation emergency talks.

The mood towards Pyongyang has darkened in the South, and President Lee Myung-Bak vowed in a national address Monday that if the North commits any more provocations "we will make sure that it pays a dear price without fail".

His foreign minister, Kim Sung-Hwan, is seeking talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Japan's Seiji Maehara on the sidelines of a two-day summit in Kazakhstan from Wednesday.

Kim was due to leave Tuesday for the meeting of the intergovernmental Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, officials said.

China has been long been the strongest defender and chief benefector of its fellow communist nation and neighbour North Korea, sending it food and energy aid and usually staying clear of criticising its reclusive leaders.

Beijing has proposed that the six parties to stalled talks on North Korean denuclearisation -- the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan -- meet in early December to discuss the current tensions on the peninsula.

MySinchew 2010.11.29


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