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U.S.-N. Korea nuclear talks likely to take place in Beijing next week: source

All Headlines 21:06 December 16, 2011

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) -- The United States is expected to hold a new round of nuclear talks with North Korea in Beijing next week as Pyongyang is willing to take steps toward denuclearization, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Friday.

The meeting, if held, could produce a breakthrough deal under which North Korea would halt its uranium enrichment program and allow in U.N. nuclear inspectors. Such North Korean moves are pre-conditions set by the U.S. and South Korea for resuming broader six-party talks.

"As the North side conveyed a positive stance that it can accept denuclearization pre-steps, it appears that a third round of the North-U.S. talks will take place in Beijing around Dec. 22," the Seoul source said.

According to the source, North Korea has expressed its willingness to take those steps through the "New York channel," which refers to Pyongyang's mission to the United Nations. North Korea and the U.S. have formal diplomatic relations.

Glyn Davies, the U.S. special representative on North Korea policy, is expected to represent Washington in the upcoming meeting, while North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan is expected to be his counterpart.

Seoul and Washington have each held two rounds of one-on-one negotiations with North Korea to get the communist nation to take concrete steps to demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization before restarting broader six-party talks.

The six-party nuclear talks, which involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the U.S., have been dormant since the last session in late 2008.

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