U.S. and Chinese diplomats on Wednesday discussed efforts by Beijing to reinvigorate a long-paralyzed process aimed at shuttering North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
In Beijing, Glyn Davies, the Obama administration’s special envoy for North Korea policy, met with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei. China wants the United States to take part in semi-formal talks that it has proposed hosting next week with four additional nations: Japan, both Koreas and Russia.
The six-party talks are aimed at convincing North Korea to permanently close its nuclear weapons program in exchange for considerable foreign-economic assistance and international-security guarantees. Washington and Seoul contend that Pyongyang has shown no sincere willingness to denuclearize, and thus negotiations at this time likely would be unproductive.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said discussions are still taking place around Beijing’s proposal to hold the so-called Track 1.5 talks on Sept. 18. “Talks are still ongoing,” the spokesman said. “We will release relevant information in due course.”
Meanwhile, an inter-Korean business complex in North Korea that has been closed since the eruption of Korean Peninsula tensions this spring is slated to begin operating again next week, CNN reported.
“Companies will begin re-opeation from Sept. 16 on a test run,” the South Korean Unification Ministry said in a statement.
Separately, the South Korean Defense Ministry plans to display its new precision-guided cruise missile in a parade in the South Korean capital in October, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday.
The domestically designed Hyeonmu 3 missile was developed for possible precision strikes on North Korea’s strategic assets. In the last year South Korea began fielding it on its warships.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the Seoul-based University of North Korean Studies, is leery that the high-profile display of the cruise missile could antagonize Pyongyang and sour bilateral relations that have gradually improved since the spring.
“In light of the current situation, a low-key event is more desirable than a large-scale parade which is likely to irritate the North,” the academic said.
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The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.
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