Two Koreas start talks amid nuclear standoff

South Korean officials arrived in North Korea on Friday for talks aimed at prodding Pyongyang to return to multilateral negotiations on its nuclear program and to provide information on southern citizens held in the North.

Two Koreas start talks amid nuclear standoff

The inter-Korean meeting comes shortly after the Chinese and U.S. presidents held talks in Washington in an attempt to break an impasse on six-party discussions aimed at persuading the communist state to scrap its nuclear weapons programs.

The participants in the six-way talks -- the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia -- agreed in principle in September that Pyongyang would dismantle its nuclear programs in exchange for aid and improved diplomatic ties.

But the last session in November ended without progress.

"The situation (with North Korea) now is not all that good. But on the other hand, it has never been easy," Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok, leading the South Korean delegation to the four-day talks in Pyongyang, said before leaving.

Lee said this week Seoul was considering a major package of aid in a bid to resolve the issue of more than 1,000 South Koreans believed held against their will in the North.

South Korea has tried to use quiet diplomacy to gather information on civilian abductees and prisoners captured during the 1950-1953 Korean War who are still thought to be alive.

 

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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