China FM sees 'important change' in N. Korea after Jang's execution

China FM sees 'important change' in N. Korea after Jang's execution

BEIJING, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that he has observed an "important change" in recent developments in North Korea after the stunning execution of leader Kim Jong-un's uncle.

When asked by a reporter about the recent developments in North Korea, Wang answered, "I think that an important change is taking place in the situation of North Korea." Wang made the remarks after giving a keynote speech at a forum in Beijing, hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association.

North Korea executed the once-powerful uncle of Kim, Jang Song-thaek, last Thursday, after a special military tribunal found him guilty of treason, corruption and other charges, marking the most significant political upheaval since Kim took power nearly two years ago.

China has kept a low-profile stance on the downfall of Jang, with Wang's ministry describing the purging and execution of Jang as North Korea's "internal affair."

   Although Wang has made no mention of the execution of Jang, the foreign minister said China "is closely watching the situation" in North Korea.

During his speech that laid out China's diplomatic goals for next year, Wang said Beijing will continue to make efforts to resume the long-stalled multilateral talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear weapons program.

"2013 is an extraordinary year for China's diplomacy," Wang said. "On the Korean Peninsula, after a period of tensions, the situation has eased and the parties have been working intensively to restart the six-party talks."

   China is "working with others to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and we are working actively to restart the six-party talks," Wang said.

The six-party talks, which involve the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since late 2008.