April 18, 2011 10:51
There is a chance that North Korea will accept a call for a meeting between the two Koreas' chief negotiators to the six-party nuclear disarmament talks as early as this week, according to a senior government official on Sunday.
The official said the North "can't drag its feet indefinitely" after China's special representative on Korean affairs Wu Dawei told reporters following a meeting with North Korean chief negotiator Kim Kye-gwan of a proposal for a three-stage process to revive the six-party talks. This would start with a meeting of the two Korean negotiators, followed by North Korea-U.S. talks and finally the resumption of six-party talks, according to Wu's proposal.
North Korea has so far refused to discuss the nuclear issue with South Korea, saying it is a matter between Pyongyang and Washington.
South Korea and the U.S. agreed in principle during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Seoul and chief South Korean nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac's visit to Washington that the U.S. will hold bilateral talks with the North, and the six-party talks can resume only if the inter-Korean meeting produces results.
The government will decide later whether to bring up the North's attacks on the Navy corvette Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island last year at the meeting.
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