News / Asia

South Korean Envoy Arrives in Beijing For Nuclear Talks

South Korea's top nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac (C) is escorted to an entrance after arriving at the Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, September 20, 2011.
South Korea's top nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac (C) is escorted to an entrance after arriving at the Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, September 20, 2011.

South Korea's nuclear negotiator says he expects to discuss the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programs during talks on Wednesday with his North Korean counterpart.

"We plan to talk about the achievement of denuclearization, and discuss the issues that were brought up from the first round of talks," said  Wi Sung-lac after arriving in Beijing for the meeting with North Korea's Ri Yong Ho. "And if there are other issues to be discussed, we will also talk about them."

He said the negotiators would also discuss other issues that were raised during a previous round of talks in Indonesia.

Those talks, held on the sidelines of an international security conference, were the first in more than two years between the two sides. They raised hopes that a reduction in tensions could clear the way for a resumption of six-nation negotiations on North Korea's nuclear programs.

In South Korea, a foreign ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae said his nation's nuclear envoy will be seeking a commitment from the North that it is ready to meet the South's conditions for a resumption of six-party talks.

"The most basic purpose of holding the second round of South-North nuclear talks, for the South Korean side, is to form a necessary condition to resume the six-party-talks, and also to get a promise from the North that it will meet preliminary measures," he said. "We can say that we will be open-minded in holding discussions."

He said the South would remain open-minded during the talks.

North Korea walked away in 2009 from the talks, aimed at getting it to give up its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for economic and diplomatic benefits. In recent months, it has called for the talks to be resumed without conditions, and offered to impose a moratorium on the nuclear programs if the talks to ahead.

South Korea, backed by the United States and Japan, has insisted that the North first show its sincerity by honoring previous commitments to disarm.

North Korea revealed last year that it also has an advanced uranium enrichment program.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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