South Korean Diplomat to Travel to China for Talks on North Korea

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Nov. 11, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

South Korea’s seni­or nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­at­or is set to travel to China in the com­ing days for talks on the long-run­ning stand­still over North Korea’s nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted on Sunday.

The forth­com­ing trip by Cho Tae-yong comes on the heels of his vis­it to the United States last week, where he dis­cussed co­ordin­at­ing po­s­i­tions on Py­ongy­ang with coun­ter­parts from the U.S. and Ja­pan­ese gov­ern­ments.

An an­onym­ous dip­lo­mat­ic in­sider said Cho likely will be up­dated by seni­or Chinese nuc­le­ar dip­lo­mat Wu Da­wei on his vis­it to North Korea last week. There have been ru­mors Wu used his trip to tell North Korea that it needs to al­ter its po­s­i­tion on its nuc­le­ar pro­gram if it wishes the moribund mul­tina­tion­al aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion pro­cess to be re­sumed.

Seoul, Wash­ing­ton and Tokyo ar­gue Py­ongy­ang has not gone far enough in demon­strat­ing its com­mit­ment to per­man­ent nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment. The North re­portedly has offered to im­ple­ment a morator­i­um on nuc­le­ar tests and long-range mis­sile launches if the six-na­tion ne­go­ti­ations are re­sumed. The talks in­volve China, Ja­pan, both Koreas, Rus­sia and the United States and were last held nearly five years ago.

No real pro­gress has been seen to­ward re­start­ing the talks, des­pite last week’s flurry of dip­lo­mat­ic meet­ings on the mat­ter, ac­cord­ing to a high-rank­ing source in South Korea.

“Head­way may be made in slow stages in­stead of one big leap,” the source said.

Mean­while, the South Korean gov­ern­ment on Monday opened an in­ter­na­tion­al de­fense con­fer­ence that was ex­pec­ted to in­clude a fo­cus on cy­ber se­cur­ity and threats em­an­at­ing from North Korea, Yon­hap sep­ar­ately re­por­ted. The second an­nu­al Seoul De­fense Dia­logue will in­clude par­ti­cip­a­tion from seni­or mil­it­ary of­fi­cials, vice de­fense min­is­ters and se­cur­ity ad­visers from 23 coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the South Korean De­fense Min­istry.

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