November 30, 2009 09:04
Prospects for bilateral talks between North Korea and the U.S. aimed at persuading Pyongyang back to the nuclear negotiating table are "dark," a senior South Korean government official on Sunday said.
"Rumors that North Korea will return to the six-party talks have not been confirmed yet. We can say for now that the prospects are dark," the official said. "Recent foreign news reports say that the North has hinted at returning to the six-party talks, but they haven't been confirmed yet either."
The U.S. representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth visits Pyongyang on Dec. 8. But the official claimed the prospects are dim because the North still insists it can return to the multilateral talks only when the U.S. ends its "hostile" policy.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, pointed to his meeting with Jack Pritchard, the president of the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, who has been to Pyongyang recently. "He told me that the North has not changed its position and showed no signs of taking any positive action or offering any expectations."
Meanwhile, Bosworth will arrive in Seoul on Dec. 6 to meet South Korean government officials first and fly to Pyongyang by military aircraft from the U.S. Air Base in Osan on Dec. 8.
Quoting a source in Washington, Radio Free Asia in the U.S. reported that a small delegation consisting of Bosworth, U.S. special envoy to the six-party talks Sung Kim, and officials from the State and Defense departments and the National Security Council will fly to Pyongyang.
The delegation will return to Seoul to debrief the South Korean government and then visit Japan, China and Russia, RFA added.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com