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U.S., South Korea, Japan Renew Coordination Over North's Atomic Efforts

Diplomats from Japan, South Korea and the United States on Wednesday renewed their determination to remain in tight coordination in responding to North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy Glyn Davies joined the senior atomic negotiators from Japan and South Korea, Shinsuke Sugiyama and Lim Sung-nam, for three-way talks on the North in the Japanese capital.

"During the meeting, the three countries reaffirmed the importance of resolving the North's nuclear issues via the six-party talks, of maintaining stability on the Korean Peninsula ahead of the presidential elections in South Korea and the U.S., and of reminding ourselves of constructive roles by China and Russia to denuclearize the North," Lim said to journalists following the talks.

The six-nation talks aimed at permanent North Korean denuclearization involve China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia, and the United States. The last round of negotiations took place nearly four years ago. Since that time, Pyongyang has made progress on several fronts toward acquiring a credible nuclear deterrent. The regime in 2009 conducted a second atomic test that was more successful than its lackluster first attempt; unveiled a uranium enrichment program; and significantly advanced construction of a light-water reactor which could be used to produce plutonium for warheads.

On Tuesday, Davies urged North Korea not to abandon the September 2005 agreement under which Pyongyang agreed to gradually shut down its nuclear weapons work in exchange for international aid, Kyodo News reported.

Davies was addressing a Monday article by Foreign Policy that revealed his own deputy and the senior U.S. negotiator at the six-nation talks, Clifford Hart, was informed by two Pyongyang officials during a short meeting in late September that North Korea would ignore its 2005 denuclearization pledge so long as it perceived Washington was maintaining an antagonistic posture toward it.

Two unidentified Obama officials told the publication that no headway was made during the informal two-way talks held on the margins of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue in Dalian, China. No new U.S.-North Korea discussions are in the works, according to the report.

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