North Korea returns to six-party talks

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

North Korea conducted its first nuclear test three weeks ago

North Korea has today agreed to return to the six-party talks about its nuclear programme, as announced by the Chinese and U.S. governments. This comes after Pyongyang's withdrawal two weeks ago after the UN Security Council unanimously voted to impose sanctions on North Korea, which were ultimately designed to remove the ability to create nuclear weapons.

United States President George W. Bush has thanked the Chinese government for assisting and persuading North Korea to return to the talks. He went on to say that "[the US will] be sending teams to the region to work with our partners to make sure that the current United Nations Security Council resolution is enforced but also make sure the talks are effective, that we achieve the result we want". Pyongyang did not make the lifting of the sanctions a condition for the resumption of the talks.

The negotiations between the six parties, North Korea, China, the United States of America, South Korea, Russia, and Japan, could restart as early as November, said Christopher R. Hill, the chief US negotiator on North Korea. South Korea was optimistic about the resumption of the talks. "The government hopes that the six-party talks will resume at an early date as agreed," said Choo Kyu-ho, spokesman for South Korea's foreign ministry.