Six-nation talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis — tentatively planned for this month — might be delayed until next year, U.S. and Asian officials said yesterday (see GSN, Dec. 2).
The Chinese government, which will host the talks, has proposed that the parties agree on a statement that will outline the negotiations before they start. Washington and Pyongyang remain deadlocked, however, over the timing of North Korea scrapping its nuclear weapons development and the issuance of a U.S. nonaggression guarantee. Negotiators have also had trouble with a U.S. demand for thorough inspections in North Korea.
The United States is “prepared to provide a written document on security assurances to Pyongyang with other participants in the talks,” U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said yesterday. “Such assurances can only be provided, however, in the context of agreement and implementation of an effective verification regime,” he added.
Washington has not decided at what point it would offer the nonaggression pact to Pyongyang, the Washington Post reported (Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, Dec. 3).