U.S., China Still Not Aligned on Renewing Nuclear Talks with North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during Monday night's Ploughshares Fund Gala in Washington where he said North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons at the expense of making other national investments that could benefit its citzens is inexcusable (Mark Wilson/Getty Images).
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during Monday night's Ploughshares Fund Gala in Washington where he said North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons at the expense of making other national investments that could benefit its citzens is inexcusable (Mark Wilson/Getty Images).

After two days of meetings in Washington, senior U.S. and Chinese officials signaled their governments still were not aligned on a strategy for resuming nuclear negotiations with North Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Chinese special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei told journalists he was "confident" that nations involved in efforts to denuclearize North Korea would be able to reach agreement on how to resume frozen negotiations with Pyongyang. Wu was meeting this week with U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy Glyn Davies.

The Chinese diplomat said discussions were "serious, candid, deep and productive."

The U.S. State Department, though, indicated its position -- that North Korea must first offer concrete proof of its commitment to irreversible nuclear disarmament before six-nation negotiations are resumed -- has not changed.

"We're continuing to hold them accountable to these [previously agreed-upon denuclearization] commitments ... the ball is in their court," department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said to reporters. "Obviously, those steps have not been taken, so our position has not changed on the resumption."

Beijing wants the six-party talks involving itself, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States to be resumed as soon as possible and believes placing preconditions on the North is inhibiting their resumption. The last round of the aid-for-denuclearization negotiations took place in late 2008. Since that time, Pyongyang has made substantial progress in its efforts to develop a credible and deliverable nuclear weapon.

Speaking at a Monday night Ploughshares Fund Gala in Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry told the audience,"we call on North Korea to comply with its international obligations. We need to move forward. ... How can you excuse a state, a rogue state, that spends its scarce resources on missiles designed to kill rather than investments that makes its citizens lives better?"

The Kim Jong Un regime in a Wednesday commentary published in the state-controlled Rodong Sinmun said its nuclear-weapons work was not something to be haggled over and traded away, Yonhap separately reported.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hyong Jun met with his Chinese counterpart, Liu Zhenmin in Beijing on Tuesday for talks on "the China-North Korea relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement reported on by Yonhap.

Oct. 30, 2013
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After two days of meetings in Washington, senior U.S. and Chinese officials signaled their governments still were not aligned on a strategy for resuming nuclear negotiations with North Korea, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

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