U.S.-NK Talks Head into 2nd Day

Chris Green  |  2012-02-24 09:56
The United States and North Korea entered an extended second day of talks this morning with both sides sounding cautiously positive but unwilling to draw premature conclusions.

Speaking with reporters after the days events in Beijing, Glyn Davies, the leader of the U.S. delegation, commented, "The talks today were substantive and serious and we covered quite a number of the issues, and so as I say we'll pick up again tomorrow and see if we can't make a little bit of progress.

For his part, North Korean chief delegate Kim Kye Gwan agreed that the discussion had been both positive and serious.

As expected, the talks appear to have focused on the twin topics of food aid and the halting of North Koreas nuclear programs, things which media reports claim the two sides were nearing agreement on after the 2nd such round of talks at the end of October last year; however, neither side was willing to speak in specific terms.

Promising a more comprehensive readout after todays talks, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Mark Toner told reporters in Washington, DC, Weve been very clear about what were looking for in providing this kind of nutritional assistance to North Korea. They need to still come back and answer some of the questions and issues that weve raised previously. But again, its hard for me to say how much of a major topic that is in these discussions.

Toner was also reluctant to be drawn on whether the question of improving inter-Korean relations formed part of yesterdays agenda, but noted that it is still one of a package of issues that the U.S. views as important.

You know many of these issues, and certainly, better relations with North Koreas neighbors is one of them, he conceded.

Reports suggest that in addition to agreeing to extend the talks into a second day, the two delegations also had dinner together last night, something which is likely to be seen as a positive sign going into todays discussion.
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