[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
N Korea discusses return to nuclear talks
As US and N Korean officials meet in Geneva, Chinese official pays Kim Jong-il a visit in Pyongyang.
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2011 09:35
Bosworth, the head of the US delegation in Geneva, says there has been 'some progress' in the talks [AFP]

A second day of closely watched talks between the US and North Korea is due to begin, with the most senior US envoy reporting some progress in narrowing differences over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

This comes as Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea, separately discussed a return to nuclear talks with Li Keqiang, the Chinese vice-premier, who travelled to Pyongyang on Monday, according to Chinese state media.

Kim told Li, the man likely to succeed Wen Jiabao as premier, that a moribund 2005 deal should be the basis for fresh talks about Pyongyang's nuclear programme, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Kim said Pyongyang "hopes the six-party talks about the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula should be restarted as soon as possible", Xinhua said.

The "principle of simultaneous action" should apply, it quoted Kim as saying - a reiteration of the North's stance that the negotiations should begin again without preconditions.

The North formally quit the six-party forum in April 2009. It has since repeatedly said it wants to come back, but the US and South Korea insist the North must immediately halt its uranium enrichment programme, which it unveiled last year, as a precursor to restart regional talks that offer economic aid in return for denuclearisation.

Li said Beijing was "working for positive achievements, creating conditions for reopening the six-party talks at an early date," Xinhua said.

China, which is Pyongyang's closest ally and a major economic partner, has hosted the six-party forum since 2003, which includes the two Koreas, Russia, the US and Japan.

Geneva talks

The meeting in Pyongyang took place on a day the US delegation hosted North Korean representatives at the US mission in the Swiss city of Geneva, their second direct encounter in less than three months.

After a day of "very intensive discussions", Stephen Bosworth, the head of the US delegation, said: "I think we are moving in a positive direction. We have narrowed some differences but we still have differences that we have to resolve."

The outgoing US special representative said that there had been "some progress". On Monday, Bosworth and his replacement, Glyn Davies, had met the North Korean delegation, led by the first vice-minister, Kim Kye-Gwan.

Bosworth said the goal of the Geneva talks was "to find a solid foundation on which to launch a resumption of discussions both bilateral and multilateral, and we will continue to work hard to bring that about".

Commenting on the talks, Victoria Nuland, the US state department spokeswoman, said they were going on in a "business-like atmosphere".

"We look forward, in this round, to hearing what they have taken from what we said in July and whether we are able to make progress now, particularly on the nuclear side," she said.

US and North Korean officials met in New York in July, ending a long break in direct engagement with Pyongyang since direct talks collapsed in 2009.

The Geneva talks will continue for a second and final day on Tuesday.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
join our mailing list