Six-party countries except DPRK agree to holding preliminary talks: media

16:32, March 22, 2010      

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Member countries of the six-party nuclear talks, except the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) which has been boycotting the talks since last year, have agreed to holding preliminary talks before reopening the suspended talks, local media reported.

"We are not opposed to any kind of meeting between the six countries," an unnamed high-ranking government official was quoted as saying by Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.

"The problem is that North Korea (DPRK) is not responding. It's insisting on bilateral talks with the United States while not making commitment to the six-party talks," he added, according to Yonhap.

The report comes at a time when hopes for reviving the moribund talks are dented as the stalemate over the disarmament talks persists, despite a recent flurry of diplomatic efforts including the recent exchanges of high-level visits between Pyongyang and Beijing.

The six-party talks over the DPRK's nuclear issues, involving China, South Korea and DPRK, the U.S., Japan and Russia, were launched in 2003 but hit a snag in April 2009 when Pyongyang pulled out of the talks in protest of the U.N. condemnation of its missile tests.

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