South Korea warns nuclear talks are close to breaking down
North Korea's intentions to restart its
nuclear programme are bringing negotiations to the brink of a breakdown, said
South Korea's top diplomat Friday, dpa
"We are at a difficult situation where we may be going back to square one," said South Korea's Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan Friday in a speech at Seoul National University.
Yu said North Korea was possibly making a stratgic move ahead of the upcoming presidential election, in order to win a better negotiating position.
"It is possible that the North's decision to go back on the disablement steps is a strategy associated with the US presidential election," Yu said.
However, he warned Pyongyang not to expect a better nuclear deal with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain as there will be no major change in the basic US position.
On Wednesday, Pyongyang told the International Atomic Energy Agency that it was expelling UN monitors from its Soviet-era nuclear plant and plans to start reactivating it next week.
North Korea has blamed Washington's refusal to delist the North from a US terrorism blacklist for the restart of its plutonium programme.
Yu urged North Korea to honor the current disarmament-for-aid accord reached at six-nation talks involving the United States, China, Japan, the two Koreas and Russia
"We need to devote more diplomatic effort and resources into resolving this problem," Yu said.