No Breakthrough in US, North Korea Nuclear Talks

Posted February 24th, 2012 at 4:05 am (UTC-5)
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A U.S. envoy said Friday that he had made a “little progress” in talks with North Korea on restarting nuclear disarmament, but there had been no breakthrough.

Glyn Davies, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, told reporters that two days of negotiations in Beijing had covered nuclear non-proliferation, humanitarian aid and other issues at the heart of regional tension. However, he said Washington and its allies, Japan and South Korea, need to evaluate what the North Korean negotiators had told him.

This was the third round of meetings between the countries since July, but the first since North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong Un, succeeded his father late last year.

Davies said earlier this week he was encouraged by Pyongyang's willingness to resume the dialogue and eager to see whether the change of leadership has affected the North's position.

In December, the United States and North Korea were discussing the possibility of sending American food aid to North Korea, where floods and a poor harvest last year have caused widespread hunger. Pyongyang was reported to be about to agree to suspend its uranium enrichment program when the talks were interrupted by the death of leader Kim Jong Il.

In recent months, Pyongyang has been pressing for a resumption of the six-party talks, which began in 2003 but have been stalled for more than two years.

But Davies said Washington is not interested in talk for talk's sake. He said the U.S. first needs to see signs that North Korea is sincere about fulfilling obligations it made during previous rounds.

China hosts the six-party talks, which include the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed hope that all parties will help maintain what he described as the “momentum of contact and dialogue.” He said the participants should strive to resolve differences through dialogue and restart the six-party talks as soon as possible.