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North Korea "not eager" to resume talks, UN envoy says
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 12 - 02 - 2010


North Korea officials are "not eager" to resume
six-nation talks on ending their nation's nuclear weapons programme,
though they have not ruled out a return to dialogue, dpa quoted a UN envoy as saying today.
"They were certainly not eager to return to the six-party talks,"
Lynn Pascoe, the UN under-secretary general for political affairs,
said after four days of talks in North Korea.
Pascoe, the first high-ranking UN official to visit North Korea
since 2004, said his trip was partly for "re-engagement."
"I think in that sense we made a good beginning," he said, adding
that the talks were "quite frank and open."
South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted sources in Beijing as
saying that North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, who was in Beijing
for talks with Chinese officials on Friday, plans to visit the United
States in March.
The agency reported that dates were agreed for Kim Kye Gwan's US
visit, which some analysts had believed could herald the reopening of
the six-party talks, on hold since North Korea walked out in April.
Pascoe said the North Korean officials in Pyongyang "professed
great interest in improving relations with their neighbours and with
the United States".
He declined to explain why he said the North Koreans were not
eager to return to the six-party talks, but he said they again
expressed their dissatisfaction with international sanctions linked
to the nuclear programme.
Pyongyang walked out of the six-party talks in April, insisting
that UN sanctions be lifted as a condition to returning to the
negotiating table. The talks have also involved the United States,
South Korea, China, Japan and Russia.
"They said they didn't like the sanctions and they'd like to get
rid of the sanctions," Pascoe, who is also a special envoy of UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, told reporters.
He said the United Nations was also concerned that North Korea was
only receiving about one-quarter of the humanitarian aid it requires,
mostly in the form of food.
Pascoe met Kim Yong Nam, the official number two in the Korean
Workers' Party, on Thursday, reading him a "personal message" from
Ban.
On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told visiting Chinese
officials that his country remained committed to denuclearization
through the six-nation talks.
It was not clear if Pascoe's comments reflected any change in that
position.
Wang Jiarui, a top diplomat from China's ruling Communist Party,
gave Kim a letter from President Hu Jintao, saying that China wanted
the two nations to "make joint efforts ... to maintain peace and
stability on the Korean peninsula," Chinese state media said.


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