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Reports: SKorea says North Korea nuclear talks should resume by early February

Reports: SKorea says North Korea nuclear talks should resume by early February

South Korea's foreign minister says the next round of international talks on North Korea's nuclear program should resume by early next month, a news report said Friday.
Foreign Minister Song Min-soon made the comments to South Korean correspondents in Beijing, said Yonhap news agency, a day after he met with his Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing, and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan.
The nuclear disarmament talks _ which include the United States, China, the two Koreas, Japan and Russia _ should be held before Feb. 10, Song said without elaborating.
The latest talks in December _ the first since the North's nuclear test in October _ ended with no apparent progress due to a dispute over the U.S. financial restrictions on the North over its alleged counterfeiting of US$100 bills and money laundering.
Song said that an agreement on action plans should be made in the next round of talks to implement a 2005 pact in which North Korea pledged to disarm in return for aid and security guarantees.
Song and Li agreed to cooperate in seeking a "new breakthrough" at the next round of nuclear talks, South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple diplomats in Beijing. China, the host of the talks, is North Korea's only major ally.
The breakthrough would involve a written list of initial steps for implementing a 2005 pact, the newspaper said. The Chosun Ilbo newspaper and Yonhap news agency carried similar reports.
Song is in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on North Korea and other issues.
He met with Li and Tang on Thursday and discussed "cooperation between South Korea and China for a peaceful resolution of the North Korea nuclear issue," South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, without providing details.
Song was to return to South Korea on Saturday.
No date has been set for the next round of nuclear talks, but officials have said they hope to hold them before the Lunar New Year holiday, which falls on Feb. 18 this year.
Hopes have increased that substantial progress can be achieved at the next session because North Korea has shown a positive response to a set of U.S. concessions offered during bilateral talks in Berlin last week


Updated : 2021-05-17 22:30 GMT+08:00