U.S., China Still Not Aligned on Renewing Nuclear Talks with North Korea

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Oct. 30, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

After two days of meet­ings in Wash­ing­ton, seni­or U.S. and Chinese of­fi­cials signaled their gov­ern­ments still were not aligned on a strategy for re­sum­ing nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­ations with North Korea, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted.

Chinese spe­cial rep­res­ent­at­ive for Korean Pen­in­sula af­fairs Wu Da­wei told journ­al­ists he was “con­fid­ent” that na­tions in­volved in ef­forts to de­nuc­lear­ize North Korea would be able to reach agree­ment on how to re­sume frozen ne­go­ti­ations with Py­ongy­ang. Wu was meet­ing this week with U.S. Un­der­sec­ret­ary for Polit­ic­al Af­fairs Wendy Sher­man and U.S. spe­cial en­voy for North Korea policy Glyn Dav­ies.

The Chinese dip­lo­mat said dis­cus­sions were “ser­i­ous, can­did, deep and pro­duct­ive.”

The U.S. State De­part­ment, though, in­dic­ated its po­s­i­tion — that North Korea must first of­fer con­crete proof of its com­mit­ment to ir­re­vers­ible nuc­le­ar dis­arm­a­ment be­fore six-na­tion ne­go­ti­ations are re­sumed — has not changed.

“We’re con­tinu­ing to hold them ac­count­able to these [pre­vi­ously agreed-upon de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion] com­mit­ments … the ball is in their court,” de­part­ment spokes­wo­man Jen Psaki said to re­port­ers. “Ob­vi­ously, those steps have not been taken, so our po­s­i­tion has not changed on the re­sump­tion.”

Beijing wants the six-party talks in­volving it­self, Ja­pan, the two Koreas, Rus­sia and the United States to be re­sumed as soon as pos­sible and be­lieves pla­cing pre­con­di­tions on the North is in­hib­it­ing their re­sump­tion. The last round of the aid-for-de­nuc­lear­iz­a­tion ne­go­ti­ations took place in late 2008. Since that time, Py­ongy­ang has made sub­stan­tial pro­gress in its ef­forts to de­vel­op a cred­ible and de­liv­er­able nuc­le­ar weapon.

Speak­ing at a Monday night Plough­shares Fund Gala in Wash­ing­ton, Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry told the audi­ence,”we call on North Korea to com­ply with its in­ter­na­tion­al ob­lig­a­tions. We need to move for­ward. … How can you ex­cuse a state, a rogue state, that spends its scarce re­sources on mis­siles de­signed to kill rather than in­vest­ments that makes its cit­izens lives bet­ter?”

The Kim Jong Un re­gime in a Wed­nes­day com­ment­ary pub­lished in the state-con­trolled Ro­dong Sin­mun said its nuc­le­ar-weapons work was not something to be haggled over and traded away, Yon­hap sep­ar­ately re­por­ted.

North Korean Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Kim Hy­ong Jun met with his Chinese coun­ter­part, Liu Zhen­min in Beijing on Tues­day for talks on “the China-North Korea re­la­tions and the situ­ation on the Korean Pen­in­sula,” the Chinese For­eign Min­istry said in a state­ment re­por­ted on by Yon­hap.

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