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Davies in China for talks on N. Korea

Sept. 11, 2013 at 1:00 AM   |   Comments

BEIJING, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. special envoy Glyn Davies arrived in China as Washington remains firm the six-party talks can resume only if North Korea shows readiness to denuclearize.

In Beijing, Davies, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, also prepared Wednesday to discuss China's proposal for informal talks on North Korea's denuclearization even as it presses on to restart the stalled formal six-party format for ending Pyongyang's nuclear program. Those involved in the six-party talks are China, the United States, the two Koreas, Japan and Russia.

Prior to coming to Beijing on his Asian tour, Davies stopped off in Seoul, where after meeting South Korea officials he said Washington will not agree to resuming the six-party format "until we see a much greater degree of willingness" on the part of North Korea to end its nuclear program, Yonhap News reported.

The six-party talks started in 2005 and stalled in late 2008 after North Korea walked out over United Nations sanctions for its past two nuclear tests. In February of this year, the isolated Communist country, a close ally of China, conducted its third nuclear test, ignoring strong objections from the international community including China, and issuing provocative threats against the United States and South Korea.

Tensions between the two Korea, however, have been easing lately.

Reporting on Davies' statements in Seoul, China's Xinhua News Agency quoted local reports that time had not come for the six-party heads to meet because of Pyongyang's persistent claims as a nuclear power.

Xinhua said Davies' comments were in line with the U.S. administration's stance that North Korea should first prove its authenticity toward living up to its previous disarmament-for-aid commitments.

Xinhua also said though North Korea has shown its intention to rejoin the six-party talks, it is yet to make clear its willingness to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Yonhap reported China recently suggested a mid-September informal gathering of senior government officials and academics on North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

"We hope all relevant parties to bear in the mind the big picture and make joint efforts to create conditions for the resumption of the six-party talks," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Tuesday. "We have repeatedly stressed that China stands for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

On arrival in Beijing, Davies was quoted by Yonhap as saying only: "We will work together."

The Voice of America said a decade of negotiations through the six-party process have shown little progress, leaving the United States, South Korea and Japan in agreement that there is no point in holding further talks for the sake of talking.

Last week in Seoul, visiting Daniel Russel, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was quoted as saying: "The place where we all must focus is in facilitating authentic negotiation in which North Korea comes to the table prepared to implement the commitments it has already made. ... The focus must be on eliminating North Korea's nuclear program."

He said "it is crystal clear from the joint statement in 2005" that the goal of the six-party talks and the goal of all diplomatic efforts is "complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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