Tags: China: | Korea | May | Return | Nuke | Talks

China: N. Korea May Return to Nuke Talks

Monday, 10 April 2006 12:00 AM

TOKYO -- A Chinese diplomat said Monday that North Korean negotiators were warming toward a resumption of talks on ending the North's nuclear weapons program, but the top U.S. envoy said he has no plans to meet directly with his counterpart from Pyongyang.

North Korea has shown "some" signs of positive commitment, said Wu Dawei, China's top nuclear envoy, after meeting with the North Korean delegation earlier in the day ahead of a two-day security forum in Tokyo.

"We can expect some progress," he said, without giving details. "We will make an effort toward a positive direction."

Wu's are the first positive comments following a flurry of diplomatic meetings that have so far produced little progress in resuming stalled dialogue on disarming North Korea.

North Korea has boycotted the talks since November, citing what it says is a hostile U.S. attitude illustrated by financial sanctions imposed by Washington on North Korean companies for alleged financial crimes.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill has urged the North Koreans to return to the talks, but said he has no plans to meet one-on-one with the North Korean side while in Tokyo.

"The North Koreans have not yet decided to return to the talks," Hill said after arriving at Tokyo's Narita international airport, adding that both countries held unproductive meetings on the matter in January and March.

"I'm not sure there's much more I can talk to them about," he said. "Everybody else is in, so we're waiting for them."

The North agreed in the six-nation talks last year to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees, but the talks foundered and there has been little progress on implementing the accord.

The presence of delegates from all six nations involved in the talks _ the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia _ at the privately-sponsored security conference in Tokyo has raised hopes they could find a way through the impasse.

The forum's agenda will focus on energy, efforts to bolster the verification process regarding the North's nuclear program, and on ways to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The conference, sponsored by a private Japanese organization and the University of California, San Diego, brings together about 70 government officials and private researchers from the six countries.

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TOKYO -- A Chinese diplomat said Monday that North Korean negotiators were warming toward a resumption of talks on ending the North's nuclear weapons program, but the top U.S. envoy said he has no plans to meet directly with his counterpart from Pyongyang. North Korea...
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Monday, 10 April 2006 12:00 AM
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