U.S. Denies Rift with Seoul Over N.Korea Deal

      October 01, 2009 11:06

      U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg talks to the press after meeting with First Vice Foreign Minister Kwon Jong-rak (left) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul on Wednesday.

      U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg on Wednesday denied there is conflict with South Korea over a package deal to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program. Steinberg said President Lee Myung-Bak's proposal of a "grand bargain" is a matter that has been discussed between South Korea and the U.S. "What we all agree is that we've lived through the history before of partial measures and reversible measures," Steinberg said. "What we need is a comprehensive and definitive resolution of the nuclear question."

      Steinberg was talking to reporters after a meeting with First Vice Foreign Minister Kwon Jong-rak at the Foreign Ministry building in Seoul. He said after consultations with South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, the U.S. is ready to engage in bilateral talks with the North to persuade it to return to the six-party talks.

      He urged North Korea to seize this "tremendous opportunity." The U.S. is currently focusing on maintaining cooperation among participating nations in the six-party talks. They agree that it is necessary to achieve complete and irreversible denuclearization through the six-party talks, he added.

      Earlier, Steinberg reportedly discussed the "grand bargain" and the timing and conditions for bilateral Washington-Pyongyang talks with Kim Sung-hwan, the senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs and security, and chief nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac.

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