Seoul skeptical on China’s nuclear proposal


Sat, Aug 28, 2010 - Page 4

South Korea expressed reservations yesterday about China’s proposal for an informal meeting between North Korea and the US ahead of any resumption of six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

China’s visiting top nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei (武大偉), has held a series of discussions with South Korean officials, briefing them on his trip to Pyongyang last week, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Wu, who arrived in Seoul on Thursday, said the North supported China’s three-step proposal for the resumption of the nuclear forum, which it quit in April last year.

China wants an informal dialogue between North Korea and the US and preliminary talks to take place before the full six-party session is resumed, the South Korean spokesman said.

“However, our side expressed reservations, saying North Korea should first show a strong willingness about denuclearization and a sincere attitude over the sinking of a South Korean warship,” he said.

North Korea expressed its willingness to resume the disarmament talks to former US president Jimmy Carter, who left the country yesterday after securing the release of a jailed man from the US, state media said.

Tensions have risen sharply on the peninsula since Seoul and Washington accused Pyongyang of torpedoing the ship in March with the loss of 46 lives, an accusation vehemently denied by the North.

South Korea believes the North’s overture for the talks are merely a ploy to dodge its responsibility for the sinking, Yonhap news agency said.

The six-way talks aimed at dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program involve the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told Japanese reporters on Wednesday that the North should first disable its nuclear facilities and allow international monitors back to its nuclear complex.

Wu said on Thursday after talks with his South Korean counterpart Wi Sung-lac that six-party talks were still an “effective” tool to achieve peace in northeast Asia.

The Chinese envoy met South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo and senior presidential security secretary Kim Sung-hwan yesterday.