China Calls for Informal Talks on N. Korea Nuclear Program

Global Security Newswire Staff
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Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 5, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

China wants to hold semi­form­al six-na­tion talks this month on North Korea’s nuc­le­ar weapons pro­gram and has se­cured Py­ongy­ang’s agree­ment to par­ti­cip­ate, the Yon­hap News Agency re­por­ted on Thursday, cit­ing an an­onym­ous in­formed source.

Beijing en­vi­sions the so-called Track 1.5 dis­cus­sions be­ing at­ten­ded by the seni­or nuc­le­ar ne­go­ti­at­ors from China, Ja­pan, the two Koreas and Rus­sia. The talks have been pro­posed for Sept. 18.

Wash­ing­ton, Tokyo and Seoul re­portedly are not en­thu­si­ast­ic about the talks pro­pos­al, giv­en a lack of sig­nals from the North that it in­tends to de­nuc­lear­ize.

“It is un­cer­tain wheth­er South Korea, the U.S. and Ja­pan would send their chief nuc­le­ar en­voys to the pro­posed meet­ing in Beijing,” the dip­lo­mat­ic in­sider told Yon­hap.

The last round of form­al six-na­tion ne­go­ti­ations was held in Decem­ber 2008. The ne­go­ti­at­ing format is fo­cused on achiev­ing the gradu­al shut­down of North Korea’s nuc­le­ar weapons-re­lated work, which would be re­war­ded with timed in­fu­sions of eco­nom­ic sup­port for and in­ter­na­tion­al se­cur­ity agree­ments with the na­tion.

The two Koreas also are slated on Fri­day to re­con­nect a two-way armed forces com­mu­nic­a­tion line that has been severed since March, Yon­hap sep­ar­ately re­por­ted.

Seoul in re­cent ne­go­ti­ations with Py­ongy­ang de­man­ded that the mil­it­ary hot­line be re­con­nec­ted. Those talks fo­cused on re­sum­ing stalled joint eco­nom­ic activ­it­ies at an in­dus­tri­al zone in­side North Korea.

On Thursday, U.S. Pres­id­ent Obama and Ja­pan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe held a brief meet­ing in St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia, on the side­lines of the G-20 sum­mit. The two lead­ers were ex­pec­ted to dis­cuss the North’s nuc­le­ar work among oth­er shared se­cur­ity con­cerns, ac­cord­ing to a White House re­lease.

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