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U.S., DPRK scheduled to meet again over nuke program

(Xinhua)

08:30, October 20, 2011

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United States will hold talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in Geneva next week over its nuclear program, following similar talks in New York in late July.

Mark Toner, spokesman of the U.S. State Department, insisted on the exploratory nature of such talks, saying that they are for the U.S. to see whether the DPRK is ready to taking any of the steps sought by the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) for the resumption of the six-party talks.

Noticeably, the U.S. will have a new team including a special envoy with a background in nuclear issues to deal with the DPRK after the Geneva talks.

"CONTINUATION OF EXPLORATORY MEETINGS"

"This is a continuation of the exploratory meetings to determine if North Korea is prepared to fulfill its commitments under the 2005 joint statement of the six-party talks and its international obligations, as well as take concrete steps toward denuclearization," Toner told reporters at a regular news briefing.

Noting the talks are scheduled for Oct. 24-25, he said: "We're seeking to see if there's enough movement on the part of the DPRK to lead to, you know, further and broader talks."

U.S. envoy for DPRK policy Stephen Bosworth and DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan met in late July in New York over a possible resumption of the long-stalled six-party talks on Korean Peninsular denuclearization.

Toner said that after the New York talks, the U.S. side felt that there was "a good atmosphere there" and saw "enough to have another round of talks."

The Obama administration has laid out a series of "pre-steps" it would like to see from the DPRK before returning to the six- party talks, including a reaffirmation of its support for the denuclearization pledge made in the 2005 joint statement, a freeze on all activities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, a freeze and international inspection of its uranium enrichment facility, a moratorium on nuclear and missile test, and a pledge not to attack the ROK again.

The U.S. agrees to a second set of bilateral talks with the DPRK "presumably to see whether the North is amenable to taking any of these steps," said Victor Cha, who holds the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.


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