Outlook Murky for Nuclear Talks with N. Korea: Seoul Envoy

Prospects for reviving multinational nuclear talks with North Korea are cloudy at this point, a high-ranking South Korean diplomat said on Wednesday.

"It is not a stage where we can say when or how the six-party talks could be resumed," the unidentified diplomat was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying.

The six-nation talks encompass China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States. The last round of talks was held in late 2008. Since that time Pyongyang is said to have made progress toward acquiring a deliverable nuclear-armed missile and has enshrined the country's atomic weapons program in the national constitution.

North Korea has said it is willing to return to the talks but refuses to take any steps demanded by the United States to first prove its commitment to denuclearization. China, however, does not think such a high bar should be set for resuming the negotiations.

South Korea's senior negotiator to the six-party talks met with his Chinese opposite in the Chinese capital on Tuesday for "in-depth and candid" discussions about options for restarting the nuclear negotiations, according to the South Korean embassy in Beijing.

"The ball is firmly in North Korea's court," the South Korean envoy said. "To resume the six-party talks, North Korea should demonstrate its sincerity toward denuclearization, but we have judged that there is no change in North Korea's attitude."

Meanwhile, the South Korean military in the coming years is planning to domestically develop multiple surveillance satellites that would enhance its ability to monitor North Korea, Yonhap separately reported.

The South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced a plan that envisions the fielding early next decade of five space-based platforms at a cost of roughly $983 billion to develop and build the systems.

June 11, 2014
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Prospects for reviving multinational nuclear talks with North Korea are cloudy at this point, a high-ranking South Korean diplomat said on Wednesday.