By Daniel Schearf – SEOUL — The top U.S. and South Korean envoys on North Korea have met in Seoul to discuss efforts to denuclearize Pyongyang, as well as a proposal by China for informal talks. Washington says North Korea needs to show it is serious about abandoning its pursuit of nuclear weapons before the United States will resume negotiations.
The two envoys said they discussed Pyongyang’s nuclear programs as well as positive developments on the Korean peninsula.
Davies says North Korea is not demonstrating a willingness to fulfill its obligations to denuclearize so that meaningful dialogue can take place.
“We need to see some signs that they are sincere, about what is [the] central issue of the six party process, which is the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” he said.
North Korea in February defied the international community by testing its third nuclear device and repeating threats of war against Washington and Seoul.
Pyongyang also responded to U.S.-South Korea military drills by pulling its workers from the Kaesong industrial zone, the last remaining symbol of North-South cooperation.
Tensions later eased and North Korea in June declared its willingness to return to six-nation nuclear negotiations.
The two Koreas agreed to reopen Kaesong and resume reunions of families divided by the Korean War.
But, despite the improvements, Pyongyang has shown little intention of giving up its nuclear programs, points out South Korea’s envoy, Cho Tae Yong.
He says the central goal of the six-party-talks is denuclearization but North Korea announced that they are a nuclear state and conducted a nuclear test. Therefore, in order to resume the six-party-talks, he says, it should be clear that this is a meeting for denuclearization and there will be progress towards denuclearization.
The talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear programs started in 2003 and include China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.
North Korea in 2009 refused to continue negotiations in response to international criticism of its launching a rocket.
The decade of negotiations have shown little progress and Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo agree they will not hold further talks for the sake of talking.
Beijing has proposed hosting informal six-nation talks to discuss resuming the nuclear negotiations.
Davies says he will discuss the option with China’s top nuclear negotiator, Wu Dawei, when they meet Wednesday in Beijing.
Wu in August returned from a trip to Pyongyang where he discussed efforts to resume negotiations with North Korean officials.
U.S. envoy Davies will make a final stop in Tokyo to discuss North Korean denuclearization with Japanese officials.