Firm date sought for nuclear talks

US envoy in Beijing to fix date for six-party talks on North Koreas nuclear weapons.

    A South Korean paper says the North will freeze nuclear activity in exchange for aid [EPA]

    Citing unidentified officials in Seoul and Beijing, the Chosun Ilbo daily said the agreement would see the communist state freeze its nuclear activity and allow international monitoring in exchange for aid.
    The last round of six-party talks, held in December, ended in a deadlock with the North demanding US financial sanctions be lifted as a condition to disarmament talks.
    The talks bring together the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia.
    Hill has declined to confirm a report that negotiations would resume on February 6, but said the US and North Korea had agreed to meet in the six-party format as soon as possible.
    Separate talks between the US and North Korea on the issue of financial sanctions are also expected to resume soon, but no date or location had been fixed yet, Hill said.
    Very soon
    "I think they will be very soon, probably the same time or before the six-party talks," he said.
    In discussions on Sunday with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, Hill said that the two sides agreed that six-party talks should restart "as soon as possible".
    "We hope that the Chinese government will be able to announce soon the start up of the talks," he said.
    As Hill was in Beijing, his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, conferred with Russia.
    Russian news agencies quoted Kim as saying he was pleased with the outcome of his talks in Moscow with Russia's chief negotiator.
    Hill was to meet He Yafei, the Chinese assistant foreign minister, before returning to Washington on Monday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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