DPRK, U.S. Hold Talks on Normalizing Ties

http://www.verynan.com 2011-08-03 09:31 十分教育网

Representatives from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States on Monday had a working dinner at a local hotel at the start of talks aimed at implementing an agreement that includes steps toward normalizing bilateral relations.

DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, the highest-ranking DPRK official to visit the U.S. since 2000, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill Kim will hold full talks on Tuesday.

Hill arrived at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in a taxi to avoid the media attention. Kim arrived in a limousine. Neither spoke to reporters.

Though some hailed the Kim-Hill talks as historic, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack played down expectations of any immediate breakthrough.

"I would expect that it ... would take some time in order for that process to be completed," McCormack told reporters in Washington earlier Monday.

"It would be a matter of building up trust, it would be a matter of performance and today is just an initial discussion," McCormack said.

On Monday morning, Kim visited the Korea Society and stayed there for almost five hours with several U.S. nuclear and Korea experts and former officials, including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright.

According to a statement issued after the meeting, which was sponsored by the Korea Society and the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, participants discussed a range of bilateral issues between the United States and the DPRK in a friendly and forthcoming atmosphere.

The participants agreed that continuing dialogue of this nature can be helpful in laying the foundation for improved official relations to be established through forthcoming negotiations, the statement said.

Meanwhile, it was reported by South Korea's Yonhap news agency that Kim met South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Chun Yung-woo during the past weekend.

Chun told reporters that "without a doubt, the North (DPRK) is committed to taking initial steps" to implement its commitment in the recent agreement to start dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

The long-expected bilateral talks follows the six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia, that ended in Beijing on Feb. 13, 2007, with a joint statement on the first step toward the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.