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US and North Korean officials will meet in Beijing to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear program.
In a press briefing today, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters that US officials will be meeting with a North Korean delegation in Beijing on Feb. 23.
Nuland said that Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies will lead a team to meet with a North Korean team led by First Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan, in an effort to continue dialogue on the Six-Party talks and steps towards North Korea’s denuclearization.
The talks will be the first such meeting since the death of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il, and the third round of bilateral talks since last summer, said the Associated Press. The bilateral talks are aimed at restarting negotiations for an aid-for-disarmament program that North Korea pulled out of in 2009.
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CNN said that Washington hopes the new regime expresses a desire to negotiate and address international concerns about the nuclear program. Kim Jong Il’s death came at a time when the US was planning to renew diplomacy with North Korea.
The Wall Street Journal said the State Department was close to an agreement to resume talks last fall, before Kim Jong Il’s death, and Kim Jong Un’s ascension to the leadership has made progress uncertain.
Nuland said, “We thought that it was a good time to see where they are, and it makes good sense to give them an opportunity to see if they are ready to answer the questions that we have,” according to Voice of America.
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