S. Korea, U.S. discuss conditions for talks with N. Korea

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- Amid growing media speculation that the resumption of nuclear talks with North Korea may be in the offing, top South Korean and U.S. officials met here Monday to discuss specific conditions.

Cho Tae-yong, Seoul's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security, arrived in Washington Sunday for the bilateral meeting with his American counterpart, Glyn Davies, and a trilateral session also involving Japan's chief nuclear envoy, Junichi Ihara, slated for Tuesday.

The meetings coincide with a surprise visit to Pyongyang by China's top point man on Korea, Wu Dawei, who traveled to Washington last week.

"With China, host of the six-party talks, making active diplomatic efforts, we are in a stage that discussions are getting specific on what is necessary for dialogue (with North Korea)," Cho told reporters before meeting with Davies.

The six-party talks were last held in December 2008.

The negotiations can be resumed, Cho said, if they are deemed necessary for the denuclearization of North Korea.

The State Department did not immediately release a readout of the Cho-Davies meeting.

A South Korean government official cautioned against excessive optimism, comparing the ongoing diplomatic process to the difficulties of childbirth.

"Media may expect an imminent, smooth birth. But we are not there yet. We are going through birth pains, of which the ending time is hard to predict," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Diplomatic sources also say despite brisk consultations on the terms for restarting the six-way talks, the Obama administration is not yet ready to make any decision.

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