As the world powers prepare to resume the long-stalled six-party talks with North Korea, the trio of the United States, South Korea and Japan have agreed to relax conditions previously set on the communist state. The three nations met in Washington last week to discuss the stipulations, which were mostly taken from the 2012 so-called “Leap Day” talks between U.S. and North Korea.
According to a source who declined to be named, “Two principles have been set before resumption of the six-party talks can take place. The first is to make practical progress in denuclearizing North Korea and the second is to prevent the North from sophisticating its nuclear capability.” However, he added that North Korea must first meet the conditions set during the Leap Day agreement. In February 2012, the U.S. agreed to grant food aid to North Korea if it suspends nuclear and long-range missile tests and consent to inspectors monitoring their nuclear site. Two months later, North Korea went back on its word and launched a long-range rocket followed by its third nuclear test later that year, which prompted the U.S. to suspend talks. South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy Hwang Joon-kook met with China’s Wu Dawei last week to relay what was agreed on during the trilateral talks. While China agrees to set preconditions, it insists that they “should be reasonable.”
While the resumption of talks are being considered, North Korea remains committed to its nuclear program as no order on prohibiting nuclear tests has been given. U.S. President Barack Obama is set to visit Asia by the end of the month, which prompted the resumption of talks as North Korea threatens to continue “new form” of nuclear tests before Obama arrives.
[via Yonhap News]
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