North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il announced his commitment to nuclear disarmament a year after quitting talks on its atomic arsenal, during a secretive 5 day visit to China. North Korea conducted tests on 2 nuclear missiles last year, angering the US and its allies. It remains unclear whether North Korea plans to ameliorate conditions for returning to the Six Party talks, which include lifting United Nations sanctions and a commitment from the United States to undertake negotiations on a peace treaty to replace the truce that ended the Korean War.
South Korea and the United States have expressed that the reinstatement of talks should be deferred till the outcome of on-going investigations on the sunken South Korean warship has been revealed.
During the dinner held in his honour Kim also emphasised that ties with China will be unchanged by the "replacement of one generation by a new one," amid speculations he is paving the way for his son Jong-Un to take control of the isolated communist state.
The impoverished North’s economic dependence on China deepened after South Korea, once a major provider of food and trade, adopted a hard line under Mr. Lee.
North Korea's Kim committed to disarmament talks: KCNA [AFP, 9 May 2010]
North Korean Leader Reaffirms Commitment to Weapons Talks [The New York Times, 7 May 2010
Kim Tells Hu North Korea Ready for Nuclear Talks, Yonhap Says [Bloomberg, 6 May 2010]