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U.S. experts call on China to press N.K. to restart denuclearization talks

All News 08:07 January 19, 2016

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- The best way to resolve the North Korean nuclear standoff is for China to put pressure on Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table and for the United States to drop its preconditions for restarting denuclearization talks with Pyongyang, American experts said Monday.

Three experts at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation -- Philip Coyle, Robert Gard and Greg Terryn -- made the point in a joint article contributed to the Hill newspaper, stressing that the problem should be addressed now before it's too late.

"It is apparent that North Korea is hell-bent on expanding its nuclear force, regardless of the economic and political costs," the experts said, adding that past sanctions and harsh rhetoric have done little to change North Korea's course.

"This is not a problem that can be ignored; time is not on our side," they said.

They also said that the U.S. should apply an approach similar to the Iranian nuclear issue.

In order for that to happen, China should realize a stable non-nuclear North Korea is in its interest and stop protecting the North, they said.

"With China's support in applying additional sanctions and pressures on North Korea's leadership, the pariah state could be pushed back to the negotiating table," the experts said.

In addition, the U.S. should also drop its preconditions for restarting the six-party nuclear talks, they said, referring to Washington's long-running demand that the North take concrete steps demonstrating its denuclearization commitments before the nuclear talks reopen.

"This precondition has smothered negotiations and prevented a restart. Instead, the United States should agree to engage diplomatically now, while there is strong international opposition to North Korea," they said. "Removing this precondition eliminates the unnecessary barrier to diplomatic engagement and shifts pressure onto North Korea to rejoin the talks."

Past attempts to resolve the problem have failed, but regardless of such failures, the international community must address North Korea's nuclear program now, "before it develops nuclear capabilities that no diplomatic engagement can disarm," the experts said.

"Multilateral talks that feature a committed China and obstacle-free terms for reinstating the negotiations offer the best chance to roll back North Korea's program and prevent Pyongyang from conducting future tests or worse," they said.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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