N Korea and US begin nuclear negotiations

Discussions under way in Geneva over possible resumption of stalled talks on Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

    The two-day talks in Geneva come nearly three months after US and North Korean officials met in New York [Reuters]

    Negotiators from the United States and North Korea have begun talks in the Swiss city of Geneva regarding the revival of stalled negotiations over the Asian country’s nuclear disarmament.

    The two-day discussions on Monday comes nearly three months after US and North Korean officials met in New York, ending a long break in direct engagement with Pyongyang since direct talks collapsed in 2009.

    Other topics that could be discussed in Geneva include food aid to the impoverished North, reuniting separated families on the Korean peninsula, and recovering remains of US troops missing since the Korean war.

    On Sunday, Li Keqiang, the Chinese vice-prime minister, urged the Choe Yong Rim, North Korea's prime minister, "to take the right direction for engagement and dialogues, resume the six-party talks at an early date".

    The intermittent six-party talks bring together China, Japan, Russia, both Koreas and the United States.

    Washington insists that Pyongyang halt its uranium enrichment program and allow UN inspectors back into the country before resuming the multilateral talks.

    North Korea, however, has called for a restart of negotiations without preconditions.

    Monday’s talks signify improved relations since their dramatic deterioration more than two years ago.

    In April 2009, North Korea walked out of the six-party talks after the UN Security Council unanimously condemned it for launching a long-range rocket earlier that month.

    The country responded by carrying out a second nuclear test, which was met by another UN Security Council resolution enforcing new sanctions on the poverty stricken-country.

    Beijing has for years urged its ally to refrain from ratcheting up tensions and to undertake serious reforms to strengthen its weak economy which is failing to meet basic needs for its people.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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