EIJING - The US envoy to talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament said
Monday he believed there was potential for progress in the next round of
negotiations and China would soon announce a start date.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill speaks to the media as he
arrives at the airport in Beijing Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007. US Assistant
Secretary of State Christopher Hill speaks to the media as he arrives at
the airport in Beijing Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007.[AP]
The comments follow pledges by the key players, Washington and Pyongyang, to
strive for progress in the slow-moving negotiations.
The Chinese-organized international talks took on added urgency after North
Korea alarmed the world in October by testing a nuclear bomb. But the latest
round ended in December in Beijing with no breakthroughs.
US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters that
Washington was disappointed with the lack of progress in the last round but that
he believed there was "a basis for making progress" when negotiators meet again.
He did not elaborate.
Hill said that in talks Sunday with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, the
two sides agreed the high-level negotiations should start again "as soon as
"We hope that the Chinese government will be able to announce soon the start
up of the talks," he said.
Meanwhile, South Korean media reported that North Korea has agreed to discuss
the disarmament of its nuclear weapons when talks resume, which would mark a
shift in the North's stance.
North Korea agreed to directly address moves to disarm
when Hill and the North's chief nuclear envoy, Kim Kye Gwan, met in Berlin last
week, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing unidentified diplomatic sources.
Previously, Pyongyang said it would not discuss nuclear disarmament unless
the United States first lifted financial restrictions imposed for the North's
alleged counterfeiting and money laundering.
Separate talks between the US and North Korea on the financial sanctions
issue were also expected to resume soon, but no date or location had been fixed
yet, Hill said.
"I think they will be very soon, probably the same time or before the six
party talks," he said.
The participants in the six-party talks are North Korea, the United States,
Japan, South Korea, China and Russia.