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US has "zero" plans to meet North Korea at ASEAN

"I have trouble predicting the future (but) we have zero plans to meet with the North Koreans. We have made it very clear" said US envoy Christopher Hill
by Staff Writers
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Jul 27, 2006
The United States said Thursday it had "zero" plans to meet one-on-one with North Korea until the Stalinist state re-enters the "diplomatic game" of six-nation nuclear talks.

US envoy Christopher Hill also said that as Pyongyang had refused to join an informal six-party get together at a Southeast Asian security forum here, a wider eight-nation forum would take place without them.

The talks on Friday will discuss broad security structures but are not intended to reach any conclusions, he said.

As well as Russia, China, the United States and South Korea and Japan, the talks will include host Malaysia, Australia and for the first time Canada, he said.

"While we were never hopeful ... there was some reason to believe that North Korea might want to come, so we were prepared to hold a six-party informal," Hill said.

"We invited the North Koreans and they have evidently refused to attend, maintaining their view that they will not attend six-party events unless the (US) financial sanctions are lifted."

"I have trouble predicting the future (but) we have zero plans to meet with the North Koreans. We have made it very clear."

"We do not have any intention of engaging them bilaterally until they are back in the diplomatic game."

The eight-party meeting on Friday will discuss general security issues in Southeast Asia, Hill said.

Despite a campaign by China and South Korea for it to return to the negotiating table, a North Korean spokesman said here Thursday it would not rejoin the talks until the United States drops financial sanctions.

The North has boycotted the nuclear talks since last November in protest over the US punitive measures.

Related Links

North Korea says no nuclear talks until US lifts sanctions
Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Jul 27, 2006
North Korea Thursday refused to rejoin nuclear talks until the United States drops financial sanctions, dimming hopes of reviving the stalled discussions at a security meeting here.

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