SEOUL, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The United States says it will soon engage in a bilateral dialogue with North Korea to convince it to return to stalled six-party denuclearization talks.
Philip Crowley, U.S. assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said Friday Washington will soon undertake an effort to talk to the North, although he said the meeting is not a policy shift for the United States, which has previously insisted on talking to Pyongyang only in the context of the six-way negotiations, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
"We are prepared to enter into a bilateral discussion with North Korea ... and it's designed to convince North Korea to come back to the six-party process and to take affirmative steps toward denuclearization," Crowley said. "If a bilateral discussion can lead us back to a six-party process, we think that is a legitimate means to a desirable end."
North Korea has boycotted the denuclearization talks -- also involving South Korea, China, Russia and Japan -- saying they have been used to infringe its sovereign rights to develop nuclear technology.
"And just to be clear, any discussion that we would have with North Korea will be in the context of the six-party process," Yonhap quoted Crowley as saying.