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(LEAD) U.S. envoy on N. Korean nukes arrives in S. Korea

2013/09/09 20:12

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; REVISES para 2-6, 10)

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- A senior U.S. envoy on the North Korean nuclear program arrived in South Korea on Monday amid growing expectations over the resumption of the long-stalled six-party forum to denuclearize the North.

During his two-day visit to Seoul, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies is scheduled to meet his South Korean counterpart Cho Tae-yong and other senior officials here. They will assess the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and discuss ways to coordinate the allies' policy toward Pyongyang.

His visit followed last week's trip here by Daniel Russel, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for East Asian Pacific affairs, who said the North has to first show it will live up to its prior commitment of denuclearization before the six-party talks can reopen.

"Our view is that we cannot get back to the six-party talks until we see a much greater degree of willingness on the part of North Korea to take steps it has already promised to take," Davies said after arriving at Incheon International Airport. echoing Russel's stance.

"Our concern now is with the North Korean attitude toward denuclearization. They have gone in the opposite direction from the commitment that they made before," the U.S. envoy said. "For now, quite frankly, after all of the provocations this spring, after all of the announcements and pronouncements of North Korea indicating that they wish to have themselves accepted as a nuclear weapon state, it's difficult to imagine how six-party rounds could be productive at the moment."

   He also said it is now up to North Korea to convene the multilateral disarmament forum, because "the purpose of the six- party process is to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula."

   North Korea has been reaching out to both South Korea and the U.S. after mounting tensions earlier this year by conducting its third nuclear test.

However, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan have shown little appetite to the overtures, while calling on it to demonstrate its seriousness about denuclearization through concrete actions for the six-party talks to resume.

The six-nation talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear program have been stalled since late 2008. The multilateral forum involves the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

"Also on the table will be how Seoul and Washington coordinate their stance on China's recent proposal to hold an informal meeting with officials from the six countries," a diplomatic source here said, referring to Davies' meetings with South Korean officials.

As part of its recent efforts to resume the multilateral talks, China last month made such a proposal for the so-called Track 1.5 meeting in Beijing on Sept. 18.

The meeting, to be organized by the China Institute of International Studies, affiliated with the country's foreign ministry, coincides with the eighth anniversary of a 2005 agreement when the six nations achieved their first breakthrough in resolving the North's nuclear standoff during the multilateral dialogue.

Davies plans to visit China and Japan to meet with counterparts before returning home on Friday, according to Seoul officials.