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S. Korea, U.S. not sending gov't officials to 6-way meeting in China

2013/09/13 04:23

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- Effectively spurning one of China's initiatives aimed at reviving multilateral talks with North Korea, South Korea and the United States have decided not to send government officials to a six-nation meeting to be held later this month, diplomatic sources here said Thursday.

"Given North Korea's attitude and the current mood, we are not in a stage yet for a gathering of government officials from the parties involved in the six-way talks," a source said.

China has offered an informal meeting of government officials and scholars from the other five nations in the now-suspended negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program. The other parties are South Korea, the U.S., Japan and Russia.

North Korea is expected to dispatch its nuclear envoy, Ri Yong-ho, to the session slated for Wednesday. China will reportedly send Wu Dawei, its top point man on Korea.

South Korea will be represented by a group of academics privy to North Korea, including Yonsei University professor Moon Jung-in, Korea University professor Yoo Ho-yeol and Sungkyunkwan University professor Lee Hee-ok, according to the source.

A working-level official at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing may attend it as an observer, said the source.

A group of prominent American scholars is also expected to join the meeting, including Evans Revere, former principal deputy assistant secretary of state, and Bob Carlin, a visiting scholar at Stanford University.

In an email to Yonhap News Agency, Revere confirmed that he is taking part in the forum.

But the State Department reiterated it has not made a final decision yet.

China, North Korea's communist ally, is stepping up efforts to resume the six-way talks, last held in December 2008.

The U.S. has called for North Korea to take actions to prove its seriousness on dialogue, apparently in reference to some initial measures for denuclearization, including a return of international inspectors to its main nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.

U.S. officials apparently lost confidence further in the unpredictable North amid reports that it appears to have put its disabled nuclear reactor back into operation.

The North also abruptly withdrew an invitation for Amb. Robert King, special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, to visit Pyongyang in early September. King was going there to try to negotiate the release of a jailed Korean-American man, Kenneth Bae.

lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com

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