Inter-Korean thaw a must: U.S.

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Inter-Korean thaw a must: U.S.

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Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, left, listens to Lim Sung-nam, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, during their joint press conference in Seoul on Saturday. Davies, who just finished nuclear talks with North Korean officials, said ties between the North and South must improve before Pyongyang and Washington can have a “fundamental improvement” in their relationship. [AP/YONHAP]

The chief U.S. negotiator at the recent two-day bilateral talks with North Korea in Beijing said improved inter-Korean relations were a precondition for a better North-U.S. relationship.

Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, arrived in Seoul on Saturday to discuss the closed-door meetings with his North Korean counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan.

The first official talks between the United States and North Korea since the ascension of Kim Jong-un resulted in “a little progress” but no breakthrough.

“I stressed that there can be no fundamental improvement, any full improvement in U.S.-DPRK relations, without a fundamental improvement in the relationship between the DPRK and ROK,” Davies said at a press conference on Saturday, using the acronyms for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. “We hope and we expect that the DPRK will choose to go down the path for greater engagement and indeed ultimately greater cooperation.”

Lim Sung-nam, Seoul’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, also attended the press conference and said the talks between its ally and the North were a “meaningful and useful chance” for the resumption of six-party talks, which have been stalled since December 2008.

Lim also said he hopes to have inter-Korean talks regarding denuclearization in the North.

Davies, however, also told reporters that there is still a “long way” to go before the resumption of the six-party talks.

As the U.S. envoy arrived in Seoul, the North’s National Defense Commission lambasted the South Korea-U.S. joint military drill, dubbed Key Resolve, set to start today.

In a statement released Saturday, the commission said the North will “stage a sacred war” against the exercise.

“We will declare a sacred war of the whole nation to bury a group of traitors and domestic and overseas warmongers,” it said.

“The joint military exercises, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, are unacceptable war hysteria and a violation against our independence and dignity.”

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said the North’s statements are part of its efforts to push the United States to offer more aid to the regime.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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