US and North Korea nuclear negotiators are in Beijing for talks on restarting nuclear disarmament in North Korea in return for aid and diplomatic concessions. The talks, which started yesterday, were deemed by US negotiator Glyn Davis as “substantive and serious”. Despite this, little progress has purportedly been made. Talks are therefore expected to resume today.
This is the first time the Obama administration has held talks with North Korea after Kim Jong Il’s death last December. The discussions are expected to access whether North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong Un will agree to return to broader multinational disarmament talks, which have not been held for more than three years. According to Mr Davies, nutritional aid was discussed. Further details about the meeting were not revealed.
North Korea agreed to curtail its nuclear activities in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives back in 2005, after six-party talks were held. The countries involved in the talks include North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the US. However, in 2006 and 2009, North Korea went on to hold two nuclear tests blasts, and even revealed a uranium enrichment facility to a US envoy later on.
On the other hand, Seoul will be hosting an international nuclear security summit next month, which the North Korea has blasted as being a “childish farce” and an “intolerable grave provocation”. The event will focus on preventing nuclear terrorism and safeguarding nuclear materials and facilities, and an estimate of 50 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, are expected to be in attendance. The tension between the two countries in the Korean peninsula has also heightened due to live-fire military drills which South Korea held yesterday, in islands near its disputed sea boundary with North Korea.
Report: US envoy calls North Korea talks “substantive” [Reuters, 23 February 2012]
Report: US and North Korea hold talks in China [New York Times, 23 February 2012]
Report: North Korea calls Seoul nuclear summit a “childish farce” [Reuters, 22 February 2012]