N.Korea nuke talks to resume Dec. 18

Updated: 2006-12-11 16:04

Long-stalled international talks on North Korea's nuclear program will resume in Beijing on December 18, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Special coverage:
Date set for North Korea nuclear talks 
Related readings:
China proposes resuming N. Korea talks
N. Korea talks could begin within a week
IAEA chief calls for return to talks
 Bush imposes N. Korea sanctions
 Flexibility, pragmatism urged for talks
 US, Chinese, N.Korean envoys meet
 Nuclear test means now we can talk
The resumption of the six-nation talks would end a 13-month boycott by North Korea, which was protesting US financial sanctions.

The North agreed to a resumption of talks after it tested a nuclear bomb on Oct. 9.

"The second phase of the fifth round of six-party talks is to be held on Dec. 18 in Beijing," said a one-sentence statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on the ministry's Web site.

South Korea welcomed the announced resumption and said it expects "substantial progress" at the negotiations.

"The government expects substantial progress will be made at this round of talks for a resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue and will continue to closely cooperate with related countries for this," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that Tokyo wants to see "specific progress toward abandonment of all nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear programs by North Korea."

Japan's chief Cabinet secretary, Yasuhisa Shiozaki, said Tokyo plans to bring up the lingering issue of North Korea's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and '80s.

North Korea has demanded that Japan refrain from attending the talks after Tokyo tightened sanctions following the nuclear test, barring the North's citizens and ships from its ports.

North Korea has boycotted the talks among the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia since November last year, angered by US financial restrictions imposed because of Pyongyang's alleged involvement in money laundering and counterfeiting of dollars.

Last month, the US offered North Korea specific details about the kind of economic and energy assistance the North would receive in exchange for shutting down its nuclear arms facilities. But it remains unclear whether the communist country has made specific promises for the outcome of the new talks.

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours