Hanoi: South Korea has dismissed North Korea`s demand for the lifting of UN sanctions as a precondition for its return to the six-party talks on its nuclear programmes.
"We cannot agree to this," South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung Hwan quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying in Hanoi after a North Korean official said that while Pyongyang is willing to rejoin the stalled talks, sanctions on the country should be first lifted so that all members in the negotiations will be on an "equal footing”.
Yu urged North Korea to take sincere denuclearisation steps if it wants to engage in the talks, which bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, according to Yonhap.
"North Korea must show genuine willingness and make progress in denuclearisation before the six-party talks can take place," Yu was quoted as saying.
Yu is visiting the Vietnamese capital to attend the 27-member ASEAN Regional Forum, a security meeting that brings together foreign ministers from the region, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The six-way talks have stalled since the last session in December 2008.