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(LEAD) China 'confident' of NK talks, U.S. still cautious

2013/10/30 06:02

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- At least publicly, the United States and China struck different tones Tuesday on the prospects for the resumption of dialogue with North Korea.

Wu Dawei, the Chinese special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, met for a second day with senior U.S. officials, including Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Glyn Davies, the U.S. special representative for North Korea.

Stepping out of the department building, Wu told reporters in Chinese that he is "confident" that relevant nations will find common ground for restarting the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Wu added he had "serious, candid, deep and productive" talks on the matter, with such consultations to be continued.

He stopped short of revealing whether there was an immediate breakthrough.

His visit here, the second in six months, has spawned media speculation that efforts to revive the nuclear negotiations, stalled for five years, may be moving forward. Wu rarely travels abroad.

The Obama administration reiterated, however, its position has not changed, citing the North's reneging on a 2005 agreement to abandon all nuclear weapons.

"We're continuing to hold them accountable to these commitments…. the ball is in their court," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing. "Obviously, those steps have not been taken, so our position has not changed on the resumption."

   She would not provide a direct answer to a question about whether the U.S. shares Wu's confidence.

Such a stern stance was reflected in Secretary of State John Kerry's speech at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Monday.

He described North Korea as the sole violator in this century of the Limited Test Ban Treaty and the total moratorium on nuclear testing, according to a transcript released by his department.

"I will say that it is not words alone, as we call on North Korea to comply with its international obligations. We need to move forward. We need to see how North Korea will respond," the secretary said, "How can you excuse a state, a rogue state, that spends its scarce resources on missiles designed to kill rather than investments that makes its citizens lives better?"

   lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com

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