U.S., China Eying ‘Various Options’ for N. Korea Nuclear Talks, South Says

Global Security Newswire Staff
June 10, 2014, 9:27 a.m.

Beijing and Wash­ing­ton are study­ing mul­tiple paths for re­start­ing frozen nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­ations with North Korea, a South Korean dip­lo­mat said on Tues­day.

“South Korea, the U.S. and China have been seek­ing vari­ous op­tions to re­sume a mean­ing­ful dia­logue on de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion [with North Korea],” South Korea’s seni­or ne­go­ti­at­or to the para­lyzed six-party talks, Hwang Joon-kook, told the Yon­hap News Agency.

Hwang was speak­ing in Beijing, where he was sched­uled to dis­cuss the North Korean nuc­le­ar im­passe with his Chinese op­pos­ite at the six-na­tion ne­go­ti­ations, Wu Da­wei.

The mul­tina­tion­al aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion ne­go­ti­ations in­volving China, the two Koreas, Ja­pan, Rus­sia and the United States have been at a stand­still since 2008. While Py­ongy­ang has voiced in­terest in re­turn­ing to the ne­go­ti­at­ing table, it has balked at tak­ing any ini­tial steps de­man­ded by Wash­ing­ton to end its nuc­le­ar arms activ­it­ies as a con­di­tion of the talks re­sum­ing. Beijing has ar­gued against pla­cing any pre­con­di­tions on fu­ture talks.

Else­where, Ja­pan­ese of­fi­cials are slated to vis­it San­dia Na­tion­al Labor­at­or­ies later this week as part of an Ex­ten­ded De­terrence Dia­logue with the United States, the U.S. State De­part­ment said in a Monday press re­lease.

The vis­it to the U.S. nuc­le­ar weapons com­plex in New Mex­ico is in­ten­ded to “deep­en [Ja­pan­ese] un­der­stand­ing of the stra­tegic weapons sys­tems that sup­port U.S. ex­ten­ded de­terrence guar­an­tees,” the de­part­ment said. Ja­pan is un­der the U.S. nuc­le­ar um­brella.

Sep­ar­ately, U.S. and South Korean air­men late last month con­duc­ted an ex­er­cise at Kun­san Air Base in­volving the re­sponse to a weapon of mass de­struc­tion, ac­cord­ing to a Monday U.S. Pa­cific Com­mand press re­lease. In ad­di­tion to its nuc­le­ar pro­gram, the North is as­sumed to have act­ive chem­ic­al and bio­lo­gic­al weapons pro­grams that of­fi­cials fear could be used in at­tacks against South Korea.

Mean­while, Singa­pore on Tues­day an­nounced the fil­ing of charges against a mer­chant firm, Chinpo Ship­ping Com­pany, for al­legedly help­ing to fa­cil­it­ate an il­leg­al arms deal between Cuba and North Korea that was un­covered last sum­mer, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil sanc­tions out­law all weapons com­merce with Py­ongy­ang.

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