China hopes to restart six-party talks with N. Korea soon
BEIJING, March 5 (RIA Novosti) - The stalled talks on North Korea's nuclear program could resume as early as in the next few months, China's top North Korean envoy said on Friday.
"China's goal is to restart the six-party talks in the first half of this year. That's our expectation, but it is difficult to say if this will be realized," the Xinhua news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei as saying.
The Chinese diplomat said the revival of the dialogue was hindered by "the remaining lack of trust between the parties involved in the negotiation process."
The six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Russia and Japan came to a halt last April when North Korea walked out of negotiations in protest against the United Nations' condemnation of its missile tests. The North recently hinted that it was willing to return to the talks, but insisted it first negotiate directly with the United States to repair "hostile relations."
The country is banned from conducting nuclear or ballistic tests under UN Resolution 1718, adopted after North Korea's first nuclear test on October 9, 2006.
However, Pyongyang carried out a second nuclear test on May 25 last year, followed by a series of short-range missile launches, and has threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal to counter what it calls hostile U.S. policies.
The move led to the UN imposing new sanctions on North Korea banning the import and export of nuclear material and all weapons except small arms.
Russia argued in February against the "endless" continuation of sanctions against North Korea, saying they should be revoked once they have had their effect.
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