A US envoy yesterday stepped up pressure on North Korea to quickly return to nuclear disarmament negotiations, voicing hope they will resume “fairly soon.”
Stephen Bosworth, on a tour of Asia aimed at reviving the stalled six-party dialogue, said all the member states except North Korea “are prepared to move very quickly.”
“We will hope that the sixth — that is to say the DPRK [North Korea] — will also decide to move ahead very quickly,” the US special envoy to North Korea told reporters in Tokyo.
“There is a strong desire to get back to the table and begin serious work on the very important issues that we face,” Bosworth said.
“I hope that in the not distant future, but fairly soon, we will see a resumption of the talks,” Bosworth said. “For our part, we are ready to move in on very short notice.”
China, which has hosted the disarmament talks and maintained close ties with North Korea, has continued “extensive contact” with Pyongyang to persuade it to return to the talks.
“However, what we have not yet been able to agree on is ... when the six-party process will actually resume,” he said, adding that it was up to North Korea when the dialogue restarted.
The North has two conditions for returning to talks: the lifting of UN sanctions and a US commitment to discuss a formal peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo say the North must return to the negotiating table and make substantial progress toward denuclearization before other matters are discussed.