US, China want North Korea to restart nuclear talks
The US government has joined China in calling on North Korea to restart the stalled six-nation denuclearization talks, local media reported.
"We would like to see the six-party process begin again as soon as possible. But as I've said many, many times, that right now it's up to North Korea to agree to come back to the talks and to take affirmative steps towards denuclearization," Yonhap news agency quoted State Department spokesman Philip Crowley as saying, DPA reported.
The comment from Crowley followed remarks by the Chinese chief nuclear envoy, Wu Dawei, who said earlier Friday in Beijing that North Korea will return to the talks before July.
"China's goal is to start the six-party talks in the first half of this year, although I am unsure whether the target would be met," Wu told the China Daily.
International pressure has mounted in recent weeks to induce North Korea back to the nuclear talks which have been stalled since Pyongyang walked out 11 months ago.
North Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Kim Kye-gwan, plans to meet US officials to prompt a restart of the talks during a programmed New York this month to attend an academic seminar, Yonhap reported.
But the US has not yet approved the visa request, and analysts said Washington may press for concessions before giving Kim permission to enter the country.
Pyongyang has demanded the lifting of UN sanctions and a commitment from the US to discuss a peace treaty on the Korean peninsula as conditions to return to the negotiation table.