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