Seoul cautious about N. Korea's hint at negotiations

May 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

SEOUL, May 25 (UPI) -- South Korean officials expressed skepticism Saturday at recent suggestions North Korea is willing to resume negotiations on its nuclear weapons program.

A North Korean army official told Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday Pyongyang is willing to take part in a dialogue with "concerned parties" on stability on the Korean Peninsula, but the Seoul government was not entirely convinced the gesture was serious.

"North Korea did not say the word 'denuclearization,'" a high-ranking South Korean government official told South Korea's Yonhap news agency. "We have to wait a little longer and keep watch over the words and behavior of North Korea regarding nuclear issues."

Yonhap said the supposed offer to resume the long-suspended six-nation talks on Korea came after Xi had called for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Analysts suspect the offer made to Xi by Choe Ryong-hae, director if the army's political bureau, was an attempt by Kim Jong-un to mend some diplomatic fences with China.

China has steadfastly called for calm and diplomatic solutions to the ongoing tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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