Saturday, September 12, 2009

South Korea OK with direct U.S.-North Korean talks

South Korea would not oppose the United States holding direct talks with North Korea to persuade the communist regime to rejoin stalled international nuclear disarmament negotiations, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday that Washington was preparing to accept Pyongyang's offer for one-on-one talks as part of efforts to resume the six-nation negotiations. (Pyongyang pulled out of the talks with the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia and Japan last April.) Despite agreeing to direct talks, Crowley insisted there has been no shift from previous U.S. statements that Washington would only meet with North Korea as part of the six-nation process.

Some critics in South Korea have raised concerns that U.S.-North Korea talks could leave South Korea out of the main disarmament negotiations.

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