SEOUL, South Korea — The United States sees little chance of a quick resumption of North Korean nuclear talks, contrasting recent comments by China indicating hope that negotiations aimed at ending Pyongyang’s weapons program could be revived soon.
“I don’t think it’s yet time, really, for the heads of delegations of the six-party process to get together, because I do not believe that we yet have the conditions,” Glyn Davies, top U.S. envoy for North Korea, said Tuesday in Seoul. “It’s important that we only do so when conditions are right, when North Korea has reversed the direction in which it has been moving for many months.”
His comments came after a Chinese nuclear envoy visited Pyongyang late last month and raised hopes for the early resumption of the six-party talks last held in late 2008. China is “working tirelessly for an early resumption of the six-party talks,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told journalists on Sept. 5.
The negotiations aim to offer North Korea economic aid in return for dismantling its nuclear weapons program. The six- party talks involve China, the United States, Japan, Russia and the two Koreas.
Tensions over the country’s nuclear weapons were heightened this year after North Korea held the third test of a nuclear device in February. In March, North Korea threatened nuclear strikes against the United States and South Korea and in April announced plans to restart all its nuclear facilities, including a plutonium reactor at Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang.
The visit by Davies comes amid signs of easing tensions between North and South Korea. Officials from the two countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss a time-line for reopening their jointly-run Kaeseong industrial park, a source of hard currency for the Kim Jong Un regime. The North pulled out its 53,000 workers from the complex at the height of tension in April.
© Copyright 2013 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.