US says ready for NKorea talks



WASHINGTON - The United States is ready to meet one-on-one with North Korea but only if it leads "rapidly" to full-fledged six-nation denuclearization talks, a senior US official said Monday.
Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said North Korea also needed to pursue bilateral talks to ease tensions with neighboring Japan and South Korea.



US says ready for NKorea talks
North Korea on October 6 told a Chinese delegation that it was willing to return to six-way talks from which it stormed out in April but insisted it first negotiate directly with the United States to repair "hostile relations."
"I think we were very clear that we would be prepared for, in the right circumstances at some point, some initial interaction that would lead rapidly to a six-party framework," said Campbell, who held talks in Beijing last week.
"I think our Chinese friends conveyed that and also said that, frankly, moving forward, North Korea should also entertain similar bilateral interactions with the Japanese and South Koreans," Campbell said at the Council on Foreign Relations.
North Korea has tense relations with Japan, over which it has fired two long-range missiles since 1998, and despises South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak who has toughened Seoul's line on its communist neighbor.
Campbell also called on North Korea to respect six-nation statements signed in 2005 and 2007 that laid the groundwork for the impoverished state to give up its nuclear weapons in return for aid and security guarantees.
The six-nation talks involved China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States.
North Korea has long sought to meet exclusively with the United States and sought recognition as a nuclear weapons state.
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Monday, October 19th 2009
AFP
           


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