Feb. 23 - The U.S. envoy for the North Korean says talks with Pyongyang were ''serious and substantive.'' Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
The North Korean Embassy in Beijing. On Thursday U.S. and North Korean officials met for bilateral talks aimed at restarting the regional six-party nuclear talks which broke down in 2009. The two sides held two sessions of talks - one at the North Korean embassy in the morning, and the other at the U.S. embassy in the afternoon. Pyongyang, subject to international sanctions for its nuclear weapons program, has said it is willing to rejoin regional talks which offer the impoverished state aid in return for giving up its nuclear weapons program. Glyn Davies, is serving as the lead U.S. negotiator in the talks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. NUCLEAR ENVOY GLYN DAVIES SAYING: "So, again, we're in mid-talks with the North. We'll pick up again tomorrow. Sorry, I don't have more substantive information for you today. I've given you a little bit of characterization of how today went. They were serious and substantive talks, and tomorrow I hope to have more for you." Beijing has called for the resumption of the nuclear talks. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN HONG LEI SAYING: "China supports all the relevant parties in improving and developing relations, to jointly push forward the six-party talks and the process of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula. Under the current situation, all the relevant parties should continue to focus on the direction and goals of the six-party talks, and create favorable conditions for the resumption of the six-party talks as soon as possible." Pyongyang agreed to abandon its nuclear program under a September 2005 aid-for-denuclearization accord hammered out in the six-party talks between North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. Those talks broke down in the final weeks of U.S. President George W. Bush's time in office. Thursday's talks in China marked the first face-to-face exchange between the United States and North Korea since the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il last December. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters