Home>News Center>World

South Korea, Japan, U.S. discuss extending talks
Updated: 2005-07-14 20:43

Negotiators from South Korea, Japan, and the United States on Thursday discussed extending this month's six-country talks to improve the chances of real progress on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"We're not interested in another plenary discussion where people just give speeches and no one listens to the speeches," Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters after meeting officials in Seoul. "We're going to really push these negotiations until we make some progress."

Hill was in Seoul to coordinate with the negotiators for Japan and South Korea ahead of the talks with Pyongyang, which are due to resume in the week of July 25 after a break of over a year.

Three previous rounds of talks with North Korea, which also involve China and Russia, lasted four days and went little beyond each country presenting its position.

"We think it ought to be lengthened," Hill told South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon earlier in the presence of reporters after the three top negotiators ended their meeting.

Thursday's talks between South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon, Hill and Japanese Foreign Ministry Director General Kenichiro Sasae came a day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ended a trip to Asia.


Rice left the region voicing optimism that North Korea, enticed by a new offer of massive energy aid from the South, might agree to scrap its nuclear weapons program.

Hill said North Korea also appeared to be interested in shifting from the previous talks format. He met North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan on Saturday, securing Pyongyang's agreement to return to the talks.

South Korea has promised to supply the impoverished North with 2,000 megawatts of electricity -- doubling its current power output -- if Pyongyang dismantles its nuclear programs.

Hill said the parties will consider how to incorporate the South Korean energy plan into the overall offer to the North.

A key architect of the energy proposal, Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, said he believed North Korea was committed to a negotiated settlement to end its nuclear ambitions.

Chung met Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader who rules the country as its supreme military leader, last month in Pyongyang.

"Kim Jong-il's message is he wants to be allies with the United States," Chung was quoted by Yonhap news agency as telling South Korean journalists.

North Korean leader Kim told a visiting Chinese envoy on Wednesday he anticipated substantive progress at the talks.

North Korea declared itself a nuclear weapons power in February and proliferation experts fear the reclusive state wants to expand its atomic arsenal, which may now be as large as nine weapons -- up from an estimated one or two five years ago.

A senior South Korean government official, who asked not to be identified, said North Korean leaders were looking at the electricity plan quite seriously.

Space shuttle Discovery launch delayed
Blair plans measures to uproot extremism
Pakistan train crash carnage kills 128
  Today's Top News     Top World News

Taiwan's KMT Party to elect new leader Saturday



Japan approves oil drilling, China protests



'No trouble brewing,' beer industry insists



Critics see security threat in Unocal bid



Former bank chief tried on corruption charges



Workplace death toll set to soar in China


  South Korea, Japan, U.S. discuss extending talks
  Japan, US, South Korea meet for nuclear talks on North Korea
  Judge: Saddam trial could begin next month
  DPRK: Nuke-free peninsula our goal
  Pakistan train crash carnage kills 128
  NASA delays shuttle launch till Saturday
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?