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DPRK calls for restart of six-party nuke talks

2011-08-02 08:16

BEIJING - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) called on Monday for an early resumption of the Six-Party-Talks "without preconditions" after a senior diplomat from Pyongyang visited the United States for talks.

Pyongyang "remains unchanged in its stand to resume the Six-Party Talks without preconditions at an early date and comprehensively implement the Sept 19 joint statement on the principle of simultaneous action", a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry told the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The statement was made after DPRK Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan met Stephen Bosworth, US special envoy for DPRK affairs, for talks in New York last week.

During the talks, Washington and Pyongyang agreed to hold further dialogue.

"Both sides recognized that the improvement of the bilateral relations and the peaceful negotiated settlement of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula conform with the interests of the two sides and agreed to further dialogue," the DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Mark C. Tonner, deputy spokesman of the US State Department, described the discussion as "constructive".

Wi Sung-lac, the Republic of Korea's (ROK) chief nuclear negotiator, said the DPRK must take concrete action on denuclearization before the Six-Party Talks can resume.

"We cannot go to the Six-Party Talks when (Pyongyang's) nuclear programs are up and running," he told reporters on Monday, adding it was "too ambitious" to expect the multilateral talks to reopen this fall.

Wi said his meeting with his counterpart from Pyongyang on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this month was "quite cordial" but there was no breakthrough or tangible outcome.

The DPRK's enriched uranium program was a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Wi said, and "has to be addressed and stopped".

Piao Jianyi, director of the Center of Korean Peninsula Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, emphasized that the DPRK's statement was not something new since Pyongyang has never opposed returning to the Six-Party Talks and it is Seoul that has set conditions to resume negotiations.

"The Obama government needs diplomatic achievements since the presidential election campaign is coming, so it has tried to persuade Seoul to adjust its hard-line policies. That's why we have found flexibility in the attitudes of the relevant parties," Piao said.

But Piao told China Daily that there is still little possibility of restarting the Six-Party Talks in one or two months.

"We have to wait for more clues, especially after ROK President Lee Myung-bak's annual speech on Aug 15 to judge if the ROK's position has changed to a more constructive one," Piao said. Aug 15 is the independence day of the ROK.

In another development, VOA news quoted KCNA as saying the Red Cross Society of China has offered emergency relief materials to Pyongyang in response to severe flooding last week.

Pyongyang has not reported human casualties, but torrential rains in the ROK have killed dozens of people in the past week.

AFP contributed to this story.

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