DPRK, US to hold nuke talks

Updated: 2012-02-15 08:01

By Cui Haipei (China Daily)

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DPRK, US to hold nuke talks


BEIJING - Envoys from the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will discuss the resumption of the long-stalled Six-Party Talks in Beijing next week, in their first such contact following the death of former DPRK leader Kim Jong-il.

China hopes talks between the two countries will achieve positive results and promote the restart of the Six-Party Talks, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Tuesday at a news briefing.

"China supports all parties involved to maintain contacts and talks," he said.

The US State Department on Monday said in a statement that Special Representative for DPRK Policy Glyn Davies will meet DPRK's First Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan in Beijing on Feb 23.

According to the statement, the meeting will "continue the discussions that took place in July 2011 in New York and October 2011 in Geneva".

"This is a continuation of the meetings that we've been having with (the DPRK) to see if it is prepared to fulfill its commitment and its international obligations as well as to take concrete steps toward denuclearization," US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

She said that the main focus of the upcoming meeting would be the Six-Party Talks, although the issue of food aid could also be discussed.

Wang Junsheng, an expert on Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the US has sent a clear signal that if the DPRK wants assistance from the US, it should take more concrete steps toward denuclearization, such as an official commitment.

The US has no interest in what Pyongyang did in the past on the issue, and Obama needs to accumulate political capital for the upcoming presidential election, Wang said, adding that the US longs for a positive response from the DPRK.

The DPRK not only wants to break the diplomatic deadlock, but also needs to solve economic problems, he said.

Most of the aid from the Republic of Korea has been halted, so it badly needs economic aid from the US, Wang added.

"The contact is an opportunity for both sides. Pyongyang might make certain concessions, even an official commitment," Wang said, adding that he was very optimistic about the prospects of the bilateral talks.

Former US special representative for DPRK policy Stephen Bosworth met Kim Kye-gwan in July in New York and again in October in Geneva to discuss a possible resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

The Six-Party Talks, which involve the DPRK, the ROK, the US, China, Japan and Russia, were launched in 2003, but got bogged down in December 2008 after finishing a sixth round. The DPRK quit the talks in April 2009.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

China Daily