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U.S, North Korean talks lukewarm so far

Feb. 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM
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BEIJING, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- North Korean officials said early negotiations on the possible resumption of nuclear talks with the international community were moving in the right direction.

Bilateral talks between U.S. and North Korean officials, hosted by Beijing, resumed Friday. Glyn Davies, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea, described talks as "substantive" while North Korea's Kim Kye Gwan said the talks were "positive," South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports.

The bilateral talks are the first since North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died in December. His son, Kim Jong Un, is now in control of a nuclear North Korea.

"This meeting will continue the discussions that took place in July 2011 in New York and October 2011 in Geneva," the U.S. State Department said.

Washington has tried to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. The State Department sent Davies to restart multilateral talks that ended in 2011.

The United States had proposed some form of food assistance for the North Koreans in exchange for assurances it would halt its uranium enrichment program.

Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said there were still "challenges" to negotiating with North Korea about its nuclear program.

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