U.S. says ready for bilateral talks with North Korea
WASHINGTON, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. Department of State has voiced its readiness to begin bilateral talks with North Korea in order to bring the reclusive communist state back to nuclear negotiations within the six-party format.
Six-nation talks to persuade Pyongyang to drop its nuclear program stalled after the North quit the process in April, accusing the U.S. of failure to meet its obligations under an aid-for-disarmament deal.
"We are prepared to meet with North Korea. When it'll happen, where it'll happen, we'll have to wait and see. We've made no decisions at this point, other than to say we are prepared for a bilateral talk if that will help advance their Six-Party process," Philip Crowley, a U.S. Department of State Assistant Secretary, said at a daily press briefing.
Tough sanctions were imposed on North Korea after a nuclear test in May that followed the launch of a rocket widely believed to have been cover for the test of a ballistic missile. In June, in response to the imposition of sanctions, Pyongyang announced that it would start to enrich uranium.
The six-nation talks, involving North and South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States, were launched in 2003 after Pyongyang withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
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