DPRK envoy to hold rare talks with US

BEIJING – Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will meet the top US envoy to the DPRK on Thursday, the first dialogue between the two governments since 2009.

According to the Seoul-based Yonhap news agency, Kim has arrived in New York for talks and will meet Stephen Bosworth, special representative for DPRK policy.

He told reporters upon his arrival at John F Kennedy Airport that he believed DPRK-US relations “will improve as now is the time for all countries to reconcile”.

Kim said he is optimistic of the prospects for the Six-Party Talks aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

Kim also voiced optimism for improved Pyongyang-Washington ties.

Yonghap quoted diplomatic sources as saying the US delegation for talks, headed by Bosworth, will include Clifford Hart, known to have been named special envoy for the Six-Party Talks, Robert King, special envoy for the DPRK’s human rights conditions, and a White House official.

Kim is also reportedly scheduled to attend a forum organized by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the US State Department, said on Monday that it was timely to have this preliminary session with Pyongyang following rare inter-Korean denuclearization talks last week on the Indonesian island of Bali on the sidelines of the regional forum of the AESAN.

“We are particularly interested in hearing them reaffirm that they are prepared to meet their international obligations and that they are prepared to take concrete and irreversible steps toward denuclearization,” she said.

In another development, the Republic of Korea ambassador to Beijing told reporters on Wednesday that he thought if the Six-Party Talks can make any substantial progress, it must begin with the inter-Korean dialogue on denuclearization, after which various bilateral and multilateral contacts become possible.

He said the multi-lateral talks will resume due to the diplomatic efforts of all relevant countries.

Analysts said direct contact with Washington has always been a part of Pyongyang’s foreign policy strategy and expressed hopes for the resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks.

Qin Zhongwei contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily

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