US, S Korea discuss N Korea nuclear program

China had blocked publication of a UN report criticising the Pyongyang`s uranium enrichment program.

Last Updated: Feb 25, 2011, 18:47 PM IST

Washington: South Korea`s top nuclear negotiator met on Thursday with US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth to discuss Pyongyang`s uranium enrichment program, officials said.

Envoy Wi Sung-Lac`s visit came a day after the North`s main ally China blocked publication of a UN report criticising the program, which was disclosed last November and could offer a new route to nuclear weapons.

Wi also held talks with Robert Einhorn, the US State Department`s special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, and with his US counterpart Sung Kim, according to a spokesman.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Wi would hold talks Friday with Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell.

Wi said his trip would focus on how to cope with the uranium program at the UN Security Council ahead of resuming long-stalled six-party talks on the North`s nuclear disarmament.

"We are not seeking a Security Council resolution, but we are still trying hard so the Security Council could properly address the uranium issue," he was quoted as saying by a news agency.

"Our position is that the uranium issue should be dealt with at the Security Council or any other fora before we move to the six-party talks."

The panel report blocked by China calls for tougher implementation of sanctions and outlines the progress the North has made on uranium enrichment, according to diplomats.

It describes the enrichment as a new violation of sanctions imposed following atomic tests in 2006 and 2009.

China has been trying to revive the six-party talks, which include Russia, the United States, Japan and the two Koreas, and were last held in December 2008. Beijing has said the uranium program should be handled in that forum.

Bureau Report