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North Korea to meet US in bid to restart nuclear talks

Now that North Korea’s met with the South, a meeting with the US should be a prelude to the resumption of talks.

North Korea's foreign minister Pak Ui Chun, right, speaks with his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan at an ASEAN conference on Saturday.
North Korea's foreign minister Pak Ui Chun, right, speaks with his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan at an ASEAN conference on Saturday.
Image: Firdia Lisnawati/AP

A NORTH KOREAN minister is to travel to New York this week to meet with representatives from the United States ahead of a potential bid to resume anti-nuclear talks that have been stalled for three years.

Korea’s deputy foreign minister Kim Kae-gwan is to meet with the United States’s chief Korean expert, Stephen Bosworth, following on from meetings between the foreign minister Pak Ui-Chun and his southern counterpart, Kim Sung-hwa, at the weekend.

Those talks, on the fringes of a pan-Asian summit in Indonesia, had in turn followed preliminary low-level meetings between representatives from the two Koreas – who enjoy famously frosty relationships and who, technically, are still at war.

Confirmation of the talks between North Korea and the United States came from Hillary Clinton last night.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency added that the South Korean government had been involved in inviting Kim to the United States, and explained that Kim had been North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator before his promition.

The US-North Korean meetings are the second phase of a three-point plan to resume the Six-Party Talks, an ongoing international effort to persuade North Korea to ditch its nuclear weapons, which have been stalled since 2008.

Those talks – involving the two Koreas and the US as well as China, Russia and Japan – broke down entirely in 2009 when North Korea launched a new round of nuclear tests, prompting sanctions from the United Nations.

After North Korea withdrew from the talks, the remaining countries outlined their three-phase proposals to resume them – the first phase of which was bilateral talks between the North and South.

Kim was the North Korean representative at the Six-Party Talks at five successive summits from late 2006 until mid 2007 when the last face-to-face discussions took place.

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Gavan Reilly

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