US 'open to talks with North Korea'

Country's special envoy arrives in Beijing for discussions on resuming stalled six-party nuclear negotiations.

    Bosworth, left, has said resumption of talks will require 'specific and concrete actions' from North Korea [Reuters]

    The US envoy to North Korea has arrived in the Chinese capital Beijing for talks on restarting stalled negotiations on Pyonyang's nuclear disarmament.

    Stephen Bosworth said on Wednesday that no quick breakthroughs were likely in wooing North Korea back to nuclear disarmament talks although the US remained open to a direct meeting.

    "It is going to take some time," he said.

    He said lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations, the US and other countries can occur only after the North has shown a willingness to make progress in the talks.

    Bosworth, on a trip to Asia that includes stops in South Korea and China, said negotiators are not interested in resuming talks until it is clear that North Korea is prepared to make "specific and concrete" actions.

    Easing of friction

    The flurry of diplomacy comes amid a slight easing of friction surrounding North Korea, with the US allowing aid groups to fly in relief in the wake of floods and South Korea considering
    aid of its own.

    Analysts and regional observers also expect that the US will eventually sit down for formal talks with North Korea.

    But few foresee breakthroughs while the country is in the process of a leadership succession.

    North Korea is believed either to have begun or to be on the verge of opening its most important political gathering in 30 years to appoint a successor to Kim Jong-il, the ailing 68-year-old leader.

    However, China, its main ally, continues to push for a resumption of six-way denuclearisation talks which North Korea abandoned last year.

    But the Obama administration has insisted on what it calls "strategic patience", saying it will not rush into talks and instead wants North Korea to make clear it abides by a 2005 deal to give up its nuclear ambitions.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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