Progress in N Korea talks but no deal: US envoy
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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.


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

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