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(2nd LD) Top U.S. envoy arrives in Seoul for talks on N. Korea

All Headlines 14:27 September 30, 2014

(2nd LD) US envoy-NK nuclear

A top U.S. envoy on North Korea arrived in Seoul on Tuesday to discuss ways to resume the long-stalled six-party talks on denuclearizing the communist country with his South Korean counterpart. (Yonhap)

(2nd LD) Top U.S. envoy arrives in Seoul for talks on N. Korea
(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead)
By Kim Soo-yeon

SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- A top U.S. envoy on North Korea arrived in Seoul on Tuesday to discuss ways to resume the long-stalled six-party talks on denuclearizing the communist country with his South Korean counterpart.

Glyn Davies, the top U.S. nuclear envoy, flew into Seoul for a two-day visit, accompanied by Sydney Seiler, the new special envoy for the six-party nuclear talks, and Allison Hooker, director for Korea at the National Security Council.

Later in the day, Davies is scheduled to meet with his South Korean counterpart, Hwang Joon-kook, special representative for peace and security affairs on the Korean Peninsula, for the talks that will take place less than a month after they met in the U.S.

The U.S. envoy, who met with his Chinese counterpart, Wu Dawei, on Monday, is on a three-nation Asian trip that will also take him to Japan on Wednesday.

"I look forward very much to talking" with his Korean counterpart Hwang in Seoul, Davies told reporters upon arrival at Incheon International Airport.

"We'll talk about all of these issues," he said, when asked under what specific conditions the six-party talks can be reopened.

After having talks with Wu, Davies told reporters in Beijing that North Korea is accused of "even more directly rejecting" calls by its neighbors and the international community to honor its earlier pledges for denuclearization.

He added that Washington and Beijing have "firmly" agreed to pursue the goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) slammed North Korea for advancing its nuclear capabilities, such as the restart of a nuclear reactor that is believed to have the ability to produce nuclear bomb material.

The six-party talks have stalled since late 2008 when North Korea walked away from the negotiating table. Pyongyang has called for an "unconditional" resumption of the talks, but Seoul and Washington insist that Pyongyang should first take concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Davies' visit also comes as North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong said Saturday during his address to the U.N. General Assembly that the standoff over the North's nuclear weapons program will be resolved if the U.S. ends its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang.

The North has detained three American citizens in what is widely seen as the North's move to gain leverage to reopen the talks with the U.S.

He said Monday that North Korea has rejected Washington's offer to discuss the issue of the three Americans. Davies said that Pyongyang is using them as a political "pawn" but disclosed that behind-the-scenes diplomacy is underway to seek their release.

Upon arrival at the Incheon airport, Davies also said that he and his Japanese counterpart, Junichi Ihara, will have chances to "exchange extensive views" about the recent meeting between North Korea and Japan over Japanese abductees when he visits Tokyo on Wednesday.

North Korea and Japan held a fresh round of talks in Shenyang on Monday over the North's probe into the fate of Japanese nationals that the North's agents kidnapped decades ago, but substantive progress was not made at the meeting.

Pyongyang agreed in May to re-investigate the issue of the Japanese abductees. In return, Japan lifted some of its unilateral sanctions imposed on the North over its missile and nuclear program.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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