North Korean Nuclear Envoy Arrives in New York

Posted July 26th, 2011 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

North Korea's first vice minister and former chief nuclear negotiator has arrived in the U.S. for talks with officials on the future of stalled disarmament talks.

On arrival in New York Tuesday afternoon, Kim Kye Gwan told reporters he is optimistic that North Korean ties with the United States will improve, adding that “now is the time for all countries to reconcile.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was less enthusiastic when she announced Kim's visit last week. She said Washington has no appetite for lengthy negotiations with North Korea that would only lead back to the starting point.

The United States, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea have been negotiating with impoverished North Korea for eight years to get it to give up its nuclear arms programs in exchange for food, energy and aid.

Pyongyang has abandoned these talks several times, most recently in 2009 when it conducted its second nuclear test. Last year, a series of hostilities between North and South Korea created the worst tensions on the peninsula since the Korean War.

This year, Pyongyang has appealed to the United States and the United Nations for food aid, and has signaled that it wants to return to the aid-for-disarmament talks.

But other parties in the six-nation talks say there is no point in resuming negotiations before tensions between the two Koreas ease.