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Bosworth not to discuss peace treaty, but resumption of 6-way talks: State Dept.

All Headlines 06:01 December 08, 2009

By Hwang Doo-hyong

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. will not try to hammer out a peace treaty with North Korea, but rather discuss the resumption of the six-party talks, stalled over U.N. sanctions for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests, the State Department said Monday.

Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea policy, will be in Pyongyang for three days starting Tuesday, but apparently with a limited portfolio that does not include discussion of a treaty to replace the cease-fire that ended the Korean War.

"No, that's not on our agenda," said spokesman Ian Kelly. "I think you know, as in the context of the six-party talks, there are arrangements for bilateral working groups. So that would be the appropriate venue for that."

The six-party deals signed in 2005 and 2007 by the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia call for establishment of four working groups, including one to discuss the peace regime to replace the fragile armistice reached at the end of the 1950-53 war.

The others are on normalization of ties between North Korea and the U.S. and Japan, provision of economic aid to the North and dismantlement of the North's nuclear programs.

Kelly reiterated Washington's position that Bosworth's meeting with North Korean officials, the first official bilateral contact since the Barack Obama administration's taking office in January, will only address ways to reopening of the six-party talks without touching upon substance.

"It's a very simple agenda that Stephen Bosworth is going to Pyongyang with, and that's that we are having these talks to ensure a resumption of the six-party talks and to reaffirm the September 2005 joint statement and its goal of complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he said. "This is an important meeting, but I'm not going to say that this is a be-all and end-all meeting."

The spokesman dismissed reports that Bosworth will present a road map for the North's nuclear dismantlement.

"I have no information about any kind of road map," he said.

He also discounted media speculation that Bosworth may meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, saying, "He is seeking a meeting with appropriate officials. I don't think he's seeking a meeting with Kim Jong-il."

Bosworth is expected to meet with Kang Sok-ju, first vice foreign minister, the immediate superior to North Korea's chief nuclear nengotiator, Kim Key-gwan.


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