Seoul hopes US-DPRK contact can revive nuclear talks

Republic of Korea (RoK) expressed hope Tuesday that upcoming discussions between the United States and Democatic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will quickly revive stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks.

Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan made the remarks on the eve of President Barack Obama's visit to Seoul for a summit with President Lee Myung-Bak.

"At the upcoming summit, both leaders are expected to exchange in-depth opinions about the DPRK's nuclear issue and the policy on DPRK in general," Yu told a briefing, referring to the Lee-Obama talks.

"Our government hopes that the pending US-DPRK contact will contribute positively to settling the DPRK's nuclear issue through the quick resumption of the six-party talks."

Stephen Bosworth, the US representative on DPRK, is due to travel to Pyongyang for discussions on reviving the six-nation talks, which the North quit in April.

Pyongyang staged its second atomic weapons test the following month, attracting tougher United Nations sanctions.

The United States says the only aim of Bosworth's visit is to bring the North back to the six-party talks, which also group China, Japan, Russia and RoK.

Yu said the North may have various reasons for seeking bilateral talks and one of them "may be to disrupt the unity among the five nations", which support the UN sanctions.

But the minister said he expects "no substantive negotiations" during Bosworth's visit.

"We will maintain the current policy of employing both dialogue and sanctions to make diplomatic efforts to realise the complete denuclearisation of North Korea through six-party talks," Yu said.

DPRK has said it is ready to return to the six-nation talks but only if there is progress in the bilateral discussions.

Yu said he expects Bosworth to visit sometime between Thanksgiving Day on November 26 and Christmas Day.

Source: AFP

Other news