ROK to pursue nuclear talks with DPRK

Updated: 2009-12-28 14:47
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SEOUL: The Republic of Korea (ROK) will seek to discuss nuclear issues of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) not only in multilateral negotiations but also in inter-Korean bilateral talks, local media reported Monday.

Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ministry of Unification are set to brief President Lee Myung-bak on the planned move on Thursday, Seoul's Yonhap News Agency reported, citing multiple diplomatic sources in Seoul.

"The government's position would be pursuing two tracks of discussion channels without drawing a line between six-party nuclear talks and inter-Korean talks," an unnamed source was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

"Bilateral discussions on the DPRK's nuclear issues would be able to supplement six-way talks and sometimes lead them," another anonymous source told Yonhap.

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The two Koreas have thus far only touched on nuclear issues of the DPRK in their talks due to sensitivity of the issue, with the six-party talks involving the United States, Japan, Russia, China and the two Koreas serving as a main venue for nuclear negotiations.

But the current administration under President Lee, often described a hard-liner on its northern neighbor with his pledge to get tougher on the country, hopes to have practical discussions on the matter, a source told Yonhap.

However, exchanges and economic cooperation would continue alongside with possible discussions on nuclear issues, a government official was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

Local media have recently reported that the stalled six-way talks over the denuclearization of the DPRK are likely to resume early next year.