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(LEAD) U.S. nuclear envoy due in S. Korea, China, Japan next week

2013/11/15 05:41

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- The top U.S. point man on North Korea will travel to Northeast Asia next week, the State Department announced Thursday, as regional powers step up efforts to revive the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

"A U.S. delegation led by Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies will travel to China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan November 19-25 for meetings with senior officials in each country to discuss North Korea policy," the department said in a press release. The Republic of Korea is the formal name of South Korea.

Jen Psaki, the department's spokeswoman, described it as part of "ongoing discussions" on coordinating a North Korea policy.

She would not be drawn into a question about the possibility of any breakthrough this time.

"Obviously, every discussion is an opportunity. But I don't want to make a prediction of what will come out of it," she said at a press briefing.

Media are paying special attention to the upcoming three-day trip by Davies to Beijing, during which he will meet Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs.

It would be their second meeting in less than a month. Wu, chairman of the six-party talks, has been shuttling between Washington and Pyongyang in recent weeks.

On his trip to Washington late last month, Wu reportedly put forward some proposals on what Pyongyang should do for the resumption of dialogue.

The U.S., however, refused to lower its bar, according to diplomatic sources. Soon after his visit to Washington, Wu traveled to Pyongyang.

Psaki emphasized that the ball is still in the North Korean court, as it should abide by the 2005 deal to abandon its nuclear program.

She said there has been "an impact" from U.N.-led sanctions on the communist nation in changing its behavior. "But obviously, there has to be a willingness to engage and take steps, and that's not something we've seen from North Korea," Psaki said.

Meanwhile, Davies is also scheduled to visit Seoul from Friday to Saturday, followed by a two-day stay in Tokyo, said the State Department.

The envoy plans to meet with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts -- Cho Tae-yong and Junichi Ihara, respectively.

They held trilateral talks in Washington earlier this month.

The six-party talks, also involving Russia, have been stalled for five years amid North Korea's reneging on previous agreements and provocative steps.