US Says Some Progress Made in North Korea Talks

Posted October 24th, 2011 at 5:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The top U.S. envoy on North Korea says some progress has been made during the first day of talks over North Korea's nuclear program.

Stephen Bosworth told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland Monday that talks between the United States and North Korea were “moving in a positive direction.” He said the two sides had narrowed some differences, but there are still differences to resolve.

He said the U.S. goal during the two days of talks is to find what he called “a solid foundation” to launch bilateral and multilateral talks with North Korea on its nuclear program.

North Korea's delegation is led by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-kwan. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told Russia's state-run news agency Itar-Tass last week that talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program should resume swiftly and without preconditions.

U.S. officials have said that Pyongyang must stop its uranium enrichment program and allow U.N. inspectors back into the country before the multilateral talks can resume.

The United States describes the talks in Geneva as exploratory. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Mark Toner, stressed last week that the United States is looking for a “seriousness of purpose” on the part of North Korea.

Also included in the talks is Glyn Davies, the incoming U.S. special envoy for North Korea.

The United States and North Korea held their first round of dialogue in New York in late July.

North Korea quit the six-party talks, which also involve China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, in April 2009, but in recent months has repeatedly expressed a desire to return to the negotiating table.