A visit to North Korea by U.S. envoy Stephen Bosworth ended in failure Thursday to convince the North to return to multilateral nuclear disarmament talks. "We identified some common understandings on the need for and the role of the six-party talks and the importance of the implementation of the 2005 Joint Statement," Bosworth told reporters.
"It remains to be seen when and how [North Korea] will return to the six-party talks." He added, "This is something that requires further consultations among all six of us." But Bosworth claimed he had "very useful" meetings with senior North Korean officials.
Further bilateral meetings are expected following negotiations with the other four members of the six-party talks. Speaking in a press conference at South Korea's Foreign Ministry after the visit, the U.S. envoy added he did not meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and had requested no such meeting. Instead, he met with First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju and top nuclear envoy Kim Kye-gwan.
Commenting on reports that North Korea wants a peace treaty as a condition for returning to the talks, Bosworth said the countries are aware of the need to replace the ceasefire agreement with a peace treaty at some point, but he added the North must first return to the nuclear talks and make some progress in denuclearization.
Bosworth said North Korea seems minded to abide by a 2006 statement of principles whereby it agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in return for various kinds of rewards. These include denuclearization, a framework for peace, the normalization of relations between the members of the six-party talks and economic assistance.