Gates in Seoul voices approval for diplomatic engagement with DPRK

16:47, January 14, 2011      

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Seoul Friday, wrapping up his week-long Asian trip, voiced approval for diplomatic engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) if it could first "take concrete steps" to meet its international obligations, according to reports here.

Gates made a brief stop here after visiting Beijing and Tokyo to sit down with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin and discuss further bolstering deterrence against the DPRK.

Saying diplomatic engagement is "possible," the U.S. defense chief said the stalled six-party talks over ending the DPRK's nuclear program can resume when Pyongyang's action "shows a cause to believe that negotiations can be productive and conducted in good faith," according to the Yonhap News Agency.

The DPRK must "take concrete steps to show they will begin meeting their international obligations," Gates was quoted as saying.

During his trips to China and Japan earlier this week, Gates urged the DPRK to put a moratorium on nuclear and missile testing.

Countries involved in the six-party talks, including host China, have recently been in contact with each other on reopening the forum, stalled since late 2008 due to Pyongyang's boycott.

The DPRK recently repeated calls to resume the six-party talks and inter-Korean dialogue.

Source: Xinhua

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