North Korea says agrees more U.S. talks

Mon Aug 1, 2011 7:10am GMT

By Jeremy Laurence

SEOUL (Reuters) - Isolated North Korea said on Monday it had agreed to further dialogue with the United States, and repeated it was willing to resume regional nuclear disarmament talks at an early date, without preconditions.

U.S. envoy Stephen Bosworth held talks with veteran North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York last Thursday and Friday.

Both called the discussions, the first such contact in four years, "constructive.

A week earlier, the two Koreas used the same language to describe their first talks in more than two years.

"Both sides recognised that the improvement of the bilateral relations and the peaceful negotiated settlement of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula conform with the interests of the two sides and agreed to further dialogue," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said of the New York talks.

The opening of bilateral channels, slammed shut after two attacks killed 50 South Koreans last year, has raised the prospect of a resumption of aid-for-denuclearisation talks involving the two Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

"The DPRK remains unchanged in its stand to resume the six-party talks without preconditions at an early date and comprehensively implement the September 19 joint statement on the principle of simultaneous action," a spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry said.

DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The September 19 agreement, signed in 2005, spells out a process in which North Korea will scrap its nuclear programmes in exchange for economic and energy aid and diplomatic relations with the United States and Japan.   Continued...

U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Bosworth arrives at the US Mission to the United Nations to meet with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan in New York, July 29, 2011. REUTERS/Jamie Fine
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