Three-way talks to focus on N. Korea nukes

Jan. 12, 2012 at 4:40 PM
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SEOUL, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The United States, South Korea and Japan hope to move toward restarting negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions, a senior official in Seoul said.

The official in Seoul's foreign ministry said three-way talks beginning Tuesday in Washington will focus on North Korea's nuclear ambitions after the death last month of former leader Kim Jong Il, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the talks will be led by Lim Sung-nam, South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, his Japanese counterpart, Shinsuke Sugiyama, and Kurt Campbell, Washington's top diplomat on Asia.

"The trilateral talks are aimed at sharing views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula after the passing of Kim Jong Il and consulting on ways forward regarding the six-party talks" on ending the North's nuclear ambitions, the official said.

Lim and Sugiyama held talks in Seoul Thursday on the North Korean nuclear issue.

"There are a lot of things to talk about regarding our joint approach to the North Korean nuclear issue and the situation in North Korea," Lim said.

Negotiations on the North's nuclear program among the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan were halted in April 2009 when the North left the table and conducted a nuclear test a month later.

Yonhap said it was unclear whether North Korea would be willing to take part in the six-nation talks on the North's nuclear ambitions under the country's new leader, Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of Kim Jong Il.

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