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Chinese, US senior officials hold talks to discuss N. Korea issues

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou discussed issues related to the Korean Peninsula with Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, earlier this week in Washington, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Friday.

Details of their talks on Wednesday were not immediately available, but Kong and Biegun are believed to have exchanged views on how to proceed with denuclearization of the divided peninsula, which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to achieve.

Biegun held working-level talks with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui in Sweden for three days through Monday.

Washington and Pyongyang agreed last week that U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim will hold their next summit "near the end of February" at a location to be announced at a later date.

China is known as North Korea's closest and most influential ally. The two countries fought together in the 1950-1953 Korean War against U.S.-led United Nations forces and have long been described as "blood brothers."

The United States and North Korea have no diplomatic ties.

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