• Reuters

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A Chinese government-backed think tank will host a forum with officials from the six countries involved in stalled talks on North Korea’s banned nuclear weapons program, the Foreign Ministry said Monday, in China’s latest push to resume discussions.

Numerous efforts to restart the six-party talks have failed after negotiations collapsed following the last round in 2008. At the time, North Korea declared the deal void, after refusing inspections to verify compliance.

Academics and experts from China, the United States, Russia, South Korea, Japan and North Korea will attend the Beijing event, hosted by the China Institute of International Studies think tank, on Friday and Saturday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will address the gathering, the Foreign Ministry said in a short notice on its website, without saying who else will attend.

Ties between North Korea and its most important ally, China, have cooled since Kim Jong Un assumed power in Pyongyang and in 2013 carried out a third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. sanctions.

In 2005, North Korea reached an agreement with the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia to suspend its nuclear program in return for diplomatic rewards and energy assistance.

North Korea has called for the resumption of the talks, but the United States and South Korea have said Pyongyang must first show it is serious about ending its nuclear program.

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