U.S., Chinese officials discuss peace talks with North Korea

U.S. and Chinese officials said Thursday they discussed the possibility of holding negotiations with North Korea on a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War as they met in an effort to revive nuclear disarmament talks.

But U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill ruled out new concessions to Pyongyang, which has boycotted the six-nation nuclear negotiations since November.

A pledge to hold peace talks is mentioned in a joint statement issued in September, which "talks about doing it at an appropriate place with appropriate partners. We did have some discussion on that," Hill said after meeting Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei.

Hill and Chinese officials didn't elaborate on their discussion of possible peace negotiations.

North Korea wants a peace treaty with the United States to replace a cease-fire negotiated with the U.S.-led United Nations command, which fought to defend South Korea in the 1950-53 conflict, and China, which supported the North.

"The two sides agree that a long-term peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula should be set up and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula serves the interests of all parties concerned," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.

China has organized multiple rounds of talks on demands that North Korea renounce nuclear development. The other participants are Russia, South Korea and Japan.

The United States sanctioned North Korean companies and a Macao bank that deals with the North after accusing them of counterfeiting, selling weapons of mass destruction and money-laundering, reports the AP.

I.L.