US envoy says no quick progress likely on resuming nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea

By Eric Talmadge, AP
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

US envoy: No quick progress likely on NKorea talks

TOKYO — No quick breathroughs are likely in wooing North Korea back to nuclear disarmament talks although the U.S. remains open to a direct meeting, a senior U.S. envoy said Wednesday.

North Korea pulled out of the six-nation disarmament talks last year to protest international criticism of its long-range rocket launch. Prospects for restarting the talks were further undermined following the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

“There is no reason to expect there is going to be a flurry of diplomatic activity in the next few weeks,” Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, special envoy for North Korea policy, told reporters in Tokyo. “It is going to take some time.”

It remains unclear whether the six-party nuclear talks will restart anytime soon because American, South Korean and Japanese officials have called on Pyongyang to come clean on the warship sinking and express a sincere willingness to disarm first. The North denies it launched a torpedo to sink the warship.

Bosworth, on a trip to Asia that includes stops in South Korea and China, said negotiators are not interested in resuming talks until it is clear that North Korea is prepared to make “specific and concrete” actions.

He added that discussing the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations, the U.S. and other countries can only occur once the North has shown a willingness to make progress in the talks.

He said discussing lifting sanctions at this point is “very premature.”

“I would not rule out the possibility of direct U.S.-DPRK talks,” he said, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “What is important to us and other six-party partners is that North Korea takes the talks seriously.”

The other member of the talks is Russia. Bosworth said he would visit Russia soon, although it was not part of his current trip.

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