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Unofficial talks involving N.K. to be held next month: source

All News 14:59 June 13, 2017

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- Diplomats and other experts from major countries involved in global efforts to denuclearize North Korea will likely gather next month to exchange views on regional security, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

Member states of the long-suspended six-party denuclearization talks are expected to send officials along with private-sector experts to the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) to be held early next month in Singapore.

The NEACD is an annual diplomatic and security forum regarded as the "Track 1.5" platform where North Korea, along with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, usually send senior nuclear envoys and other experts.

According to the source, the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), a body affiliated with the University of California that organizes the gathering, recently notified all the countries that the 27th round of the NEACD will kick off earlier next month. The exact timetable for the meeting has yet to be confirmed.

The meeting had been previously held in the countries involved the multilateral denuclearization talks. This marks the first time it is to be held in a third country. The latest meeting was held in Beijing last July when the North sent Choe Son-hui, who is in charge of North America affairs.

The meeting comes amid expectations for a resumption of talks with the recalcitrant North following liberal President Moon Jae-in taking office about a month earlier.

Observers expect there could be bilateral talks among the six-party players including the North on the sidelines of the meeting.

The six-party denuclearization talks have been stalled since late 2008 when the North walked away from the negotiating table.


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