Two Korean nuclear envoys to meet in China next week

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Two Korean nuclear envoys to meet in China next week

Nuclear envoys from North and South Korea have agreed to hold a second round of talks in Beijing next week to discuss denuclearization, bringing the six-party talks a step closer.

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A South Korean government official told reporters yesterday Wi Sung-lac, South Korea’s nuclear envoy, and his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, are planning to meet in Beijing sometime around Sept. 21.

“Through recent negotiations between North and South Korea, it has been agreed that the second round of denuclearization talks will be held sometime mid-next week,” said the official. The exact venue and date have yet to be negotiated.

If all goes well, Wi and Ri’s second meeting will pick up from the first round of talks held on the sidelines of an Asean summit in Bali, Indonesia, in July. It was the first contact between the two envoys since six-party talks came to a halt two years ago.

The two envoys had agreed to resume six-party talks during their Bali conversation, which was described as being “constructive and useful” by Wi.

Although the South Korean representative had hinted of a higher summit between South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and his North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-chun, such talks were not agreed to as of yesterday.

Next week’s talks are expected to touch on preparatory measures for the talks and a variety of related issues. Issues discussed during bilateral talks between North Korea and the U.S. in July, the first such talks in three years, are also expected to be discussed next week.

The official said, however, that North Korea has yet to clarify its stance on the “pre-steps.”

“I can’t comment on the agenda for the second round of talks, but the North side has made no mention of its stance on the issues when it agreed to hold the talks next week,” he said.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

남북, 21일 베이징서 2차 비핵화 회담

북, 뉴욕 채널 통해 제의
류우익 등장 맞물려 주목

다음 주 21일께 중국 베이징에서 제2차 남북 비핵화 회담이 열린다. 정부 당국자는 16일 “최근 남북 간 협의가 진행돼 2차 비핵화 남북회담을 다음 주 중반 베이징에서 개최하기로 합의했다”며 “양측 6자회담 수석대표인 위성락 외교통상부 한반도평화교섭본부장과 이용호 외무성 부상이 참석한다”고 말했다. 이 당국자는 “회담 날짜는 21일이 될 가능성이 있다”며 “현재 장소와 일정 등을 협의하고 있다”고 덧붙였다. 이번 2차 남북 비핵화 회담은 7월 인도네시아 발리에서 1차 회담이 개최된 지 2개월 만이다. 북한은 2차 비핵화 회담과 관련, 미국의 뉴욕 채널을 통해 남북 비핵화 회담 개최 의사를 전달해왔다.

 일각에선 남북 관계에서 유연성을 강조해 온 류우익 통일부 장관 내정자의 등장과 맞물려 본격적인 남북 대화가 이어질 것이란 관측이 나온다. 류 내정자는 14일 인사청문회에서 “(남북 정상회담은) 남북 문제를 풀어가는 데 유용한 수단으로 추진 못 할 이유가 없다”고 밝히기도 했다.

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