Sept. 22 – North Korea and South Korea failed to agree on ways to resume six-party talks centered on the Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issue during meetings held in Beijing on Wednesday between the South’s top nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac and his counterpart in the North, Ri Yong Ho.
“We have discussed the nuclear issue as a whole. Such meetings are part of our efforts to resume six-party talks,” said Wi, adding that the two sides would continue negotiations in the same direction. In his view, the talks were helpful for the future.
Meanwhile, Ri also called their dialogue “constructive and useful,” but again he demanded that the six-party talks be resumed without preconditions.
“Based on the results of this meeting, we will put forward efforts to return to six-party talks without preconditions,” said the North Korean diplomat.
Both Pyongyang and Seoul strongly disagree about the steps to be taken to resume the negotiation process. South Korea insists on the fulfillment of certain pre-conditions by the North. These include demonstrating sincerity about disarmament, taking responsibility for two deadly attacks on South Korea last year, ending the nuclear program, and the returning of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to North Korea. Pyongyang, in turn, insists on resuming the talks without fulfilling any provisions.
Recently, efforts have been initiated to resume the talks, which Pyongyang walked out of in 2009 in response to the UN Security Council’s condemnation of its April 2009 launching of a long-range rocket and its conducting of a second nuclear test.
North Korea declared itself a “nuclear power” in 2005 and conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, which brought about sanctions by the UN Security Council. UN resolutions 1718 and 1874, in addition to sanctions, require North Korea not to: conduct nuclear tests or launch any missiles, to abandon the intention to possess nuclear weapons, and to return to talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Although the two representatives claimed their talks had a positive effect, neither side gave further details, and the exact timing of the next meeting was not revealed.