A top U.S. diplomat for East Asia and Pacific Affairs says the United
States is willing to talk with North Korea if it abandons its nuclear
Kurt Campbell told reporters in South Korea Saturday
that the U.S. is following a two-track strategy. He said the United
States also is pressing for the enforcement of United Nations sanctions
against the regime in Pyongyang.
Campbell arrived in Seoul from
Tokyo, where he discussed the North Korean nuclear threat with Japanese
officials. The two sides agreed to set up regular talks on boosting
the U.S. defense of Japan against a possible attack by North Korea.
The U.S. official said the first bilateral discussion will take place in Washington in several weeks.
second nuclear test in May and a series of ballistic missile launches
this year have prompted Japanese hard-line politicians to call for a
debate on whether Japan should acquire its own nuclear arms as a
deterrent. That issue is a sensitive one in Japan, the only country to
suffer a nuclear attack.
Friday in Tokyo that it is important to send a collective message to
North Korea that it is not too late to return to what he called
North Korea's nominal number two
leader Kim Yong Nam said Wednesday that talks with foreign powers are
not possible without respect for the sovereignty of the communist state.
will head for Thailand early next week, to join U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton at a regional forum of the 10-member Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). North Korea is expected to be
discussed on the sidelines of that forum.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.