Progress in N Korea talks but no deal: US envoy

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 22:50

Geneva: Talks between the United States and North Korea regarding Pyongyang`s nuclear program ended on Tuesday with what the top US envoy called a narrowing of differences,
but fell short of reaching a deal to resume formal
negotiations.

The US special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Bosworth,
told reporters just after the two-day talks wrapped up that
there had been progress without agreeing to a formal
resumption of negotiations, either bilaterally on in the
so-called six-party format that also includes China, Japan,
Russia and South Korea.

Nevertheless, he called it a useful meeting whose tone
was "positive and generally constructive."

"There`s a long history to this relationship and we have
many differences, not all of which can be overcome quickly. I
am confident that with continued effort on both sides, we can
reach a reasonable basis of departure for formal negotiations
for a return to the six-party process," Bosworth said outside
the US Mission to the United Nations.

"We narrowed differences in terms of what has to be done
before we can both agree to a resumption of the formal
negotiations," he said.

Bosworth said the two sides will remain in touch through
what is called the "New York channel" - North Korea`s mission
to the United Nations in New York - since the two nations have
no formal relations.

US diplomats want North Korea to adhere to a 2005
agreement it reneged on requiring verifiable denuclearization
in exchange for better relations with its Asian neighbors.

China, North Korea`s closest ally, has urged Pyongyang to
improve its strained ties with the United States and South
Korea.

"We came to the conclusion that we will need more time
and more discussion to reach agreement," Bosworth said. "So we
will go back to capitals and consult further."

Beijing wants to revive the stalled six-nation
disarmament negotiations. North Korea walked out on the talks
in 2009 and exploded a second nuclear-test device — but now
wants to re-engage. Last year, Pyongyang also was blamed for
two military attacks on South Korea that heightened tensions
on the peninsula.

Bosworth talked about a narrowing of differences during
the two-day meeting, but provided no specifics.

The first day was held at the US mission. On the second
day Tuesday, the two sides met for a "working lunch" of a
little more than an hour at the North Korean mission, on the
opposite side of Lake Geneva, then talked for one hour more
before breaking up.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 19:29

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