U.S. to Hold More Talks on North Korea with East Asian States

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 15, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

The United States will hold an­oth­er round of talks with East Asi­an coun­tries next week on how to en­gage North Korea over its nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram — the latest in a series of seem­ingly in­ter­min­able dis­cus­sions on the mat­ter, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted on Fri­day.

U.S. spe­cial en­voy for North Korea policy Glyn Dav­ies is slated to travel to Beijing on Tues­day to meet with China’s seni­or nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­at­or, Wu Da­wei. After that, Dav­ies will travel to South Korea and Ja­pan for fur­ther dis­cus­sions on North Korea, wrap­ping up his Asia tour on Nov. 25, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. State De­part­ment an­nounce­ment.

Wu was in Wash­ing­ton just a few weeks ago to meet with Dav­ies. The Chinese dip­lo­mat re­portedly offered some sug­ges­tions of things North Korea could do in or­der for the long-stalled mul­tina­tion­al aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion ne­go­ti­ations to be re­sumed. Un­named dip­lo­mat­ic in­siders, however, said the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­fused to ac­cept any­thing less than its long-stand­ing de­mand that Py­ongy­ang of­fer hard­core proof of its will­ing­ness to per­man­ently give up its nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram.

In spite of China’s con­cer­ted ef­forts to bring about a re­sump­tion of the six-na­tion nuc­le­ar talks, North Korea through its ac­tions is not in­dic­at­ing it is es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in re­turn­ing to ne­go­ti­ations at this time, ac­cord­ing to Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions Seni­or Fel­low for Korea Stud­ies Scott Snyder.

In re­cent months and weeks, Py­ongy­ang has been seen to be grow­ing its nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram — re­start­ing a formerly dis­mantled plutoni­um-pro­duc­tion re­act­or, ex­pand­ing its atom­ic test­ing grounds and build­ing new fa­cil­it­ies at its long-range mis­sile launch site. At the same time, the North has said it is will­ing to re­turn to nuc­le­ar talks with China, Ja­pan, Rus­sia, South Korea and the United States — but only if there are no pre­con­di­tions.

“I think that it’s pretty clear at this mo­ment that the D.P.R.K. pub­licly con­tin­ues to say the same thing over and over again that it would not ac­cept pre­con­di­tions,” Snyder told Yon­hap. “[This] sug­gests that they are not in­ter­ested right now in com­ing back to the six-party talks.”

A seni­or gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial sep­ar­ately told Yon­hap par­ti­cipants in the six-na­tion ne­go­ti­ations have not yet aligned their views on how the talks should be re­con­sti­t­uted.

“I would say it make take some time as the coun­tries con­tin­ue to nar­row their dif­fer­ences on the pre­con­di­tions for re­sump­tion,” the an­onym­ous of­fi­cial said.

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