New North-South dialogue key ahead of talks: US

Multinational talks on ending N Korea`s Nuke rogrammes have been stalled since Dec 2008.

Updated: Apr 19, 2011, 11:01 AM IST

Washington: Restarting a dialogue between North Korea and South Korea is an "essential first step" to returning to multinational talks on ending North Korea`s nuclear programme, State Department spokesman Mark Toner has said.

"A successful rapprochement between North and South
Korea is an essential first step before we can consider
getting involved diplomatically again or even talk about
six-party talks," Toner said yesterday.

Multinational talks on ending North Korea`s nuclear
programmes have been stalled since December 2008. One month
after the talks ended among the six countries -- the two
Koreas, the United States, Russia, China and Japan -- North
Korea launched a second nuclear test.

In March, 2010, North Korea was accused of sinking the
South Korean navy ship, the Cheonan, and later that year, the
bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.

"We`ve seen a steady pattern of belligerent behaviour
on the part of North Korea," noted Toner.

"So we need to see a clear and decisive move in the
opposite direction. ... The other side of this coin is a
pattern where we reward bad behaviour on the part of North
Korea and we hold talks that don`t lead anywhere," Toner
added. "And we`ve said very consistently that we`re not going
to have talks for talks` sake."

PTI