Clinton Challenges North Korea to Improve Relations with South Korea

Posted July 23rd, 2011 at 3:45 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says North Korea has to improve relations with South Korea before nuclear disarmament talks continue.

Speaking Saturday at the ASEAN meeting in Bali, Secretary Clinton said the United States is encouraged by a meeting between officials from the two Koreas on the sidelines of the summit. But she said the United States believes North Korea must take more conciliatory steps toward the south.

Also Saturday, the North and South Korean foreign ministers met briefly for the first time in three years on the sidelines of the summit.

On Friday, nuclear envoys for the two Koreas met for the first time since six-party nuclear talks collapsed in December of 2008.

Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac said his meeting with North Korea's nuclear envoy Ri Yong Ho on Friday in Bali was “very constructive”.

Yonhap quoted Ri Yong Ho as saying they had agreed to work together to resume the stalled talks.

North Korea's two nuclear tests in the past five years triggered international sanctions against Pyongyang.

South Korea, the United States, Russia, China and Japan have been pushing for a resumption of the talks. All six participants are attending the ASEAN conference.