Nuke envoy discusses 6-party talks with U.S. rep

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Nuke envoy discusses 6-party talks with U.S. rep

Korea’s top nuclear envoy and Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative on North Korea policy, tackled North Korean issues, including the possibility of reviving the long-stalled six-party talks to denuclearize Pyongyang yesterday in Washington.

Lim Sung-nam, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, met with Davies and discussed the United Nations sanctions following the North’s third nuclear test in February, said South Korean officials.

The two envoys further discussed measures to restore peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula while keeping the North in place in light of its recent bellicose rhetoric, threatening both Seoul and Washington.

The Obama administration maintains its dual-track policy of engagement and pressure on Pyongyang.

The six-party talks - between the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the Koreas - to denuclearize North Korea began in August 2003, but have been suspended since April 2009 when Pyongyang walked away from the table.

In May 2009, the North conducted its botched second nuclear test.

A Foreign Ministry official here indicated that in the midst of curbing the provocations of the North, rigorous diplomatic means are also needed and “in the long-term, the six-party talks with multilateral dialogue open a way for a solution.”

But North Korea’s latest announcement yesterday stating it will restart the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor, violating the agreement reached at the six-party talks in 2007, may put a further damper on a return to the stalled talks. Some media reported the North’s latest move may destroy any chances of resuming them.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young responded to Pyongyang’s disregard of the 2007 agreement by saying “if true as reported it is highly regrettable” and that “North Korea should abide by its international agreements until now and maintain denuclearization on the peninsula.”

“It’s too early to say that the six-party talks are over,” said Chung Sung-hoon, researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, “because despite North Korea’s decisions, five parties still remain on board.”

Lim’s meeting with Davies is part of a three-day visit to the United States along with the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs upon the invitation of Secretary of State John Kerry.

By Sarah Kim []

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