Li Zhaoxing to tackle nuclear issue in talks with neighbours Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing leaves tomorrow on a regional visit at a time when China is working to improve relations with its neighbours and reassure them that its economic growth does not pose a threat. Mr Li will visit Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for bilateral and regional meetings with Southeast Asian and other countries. The visit also comes against a backdrop of increased overseas pressure for China to take a leading role in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis. The central event will be the ministerial meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and South Korea in Phnom Penh from June 17-19, where Mr Li will hold informal meetings with foreign ministers from Japan and South Korea. Fu Ying, director-general of the Asia department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday the North Korean nuclear crisis would be touched on in many meetings. The security issue will be specifically addressed in the Asean Regional Forum, which involves Asean's security dialogue partners Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, the United States and the European Union. North Korea will not send its foreign minister to the meeting, but a junior official will attend the regional forum. In April, officials from North Korea, the US and China held talks in Beijing to resolve the nuclear issue but the meeting broke down after North Korea revealed it had already developed nuclear warheads. Ms Fu said the meeting in Beijing was 'a very good start' and that China would like to see talks resume. Mindful that South Korea, Japan and Russia all have strong interest in the dialogue, she said China had not taken a position on the multilateral format of the talks. In the Asean-China dialogue, China will follow up on the free-trade-area discussions. A Framework Agreement on China's Asean economic co-operation was signed last November and will take effect next month. From Cambodia, Mr Li will head to Thailand for talks before attending the Asia Co-operation Dialogue (ACD) in Chiang Mai. The ACD, two-year-old brainchild of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, attempts to provide the missing link between east and south Asia as a forum for trade, but has been derided as woolly, with no clear objectives. Calling it 'a pattern of Asian co-operation', Ms Fu said it had potential as a framework for co-operation. In Thailand, China will offer to host the next ACD meeting.