NK Wants Better Ties With Seoul: Pascoe

BEIJING ― North Korea told a visiting senior U.N. envoy that it wants better ties with rival South Korea, while its chief nuclear envoy was staying in the Chinese capital, meeting with Chinese officials for consultations on the stalled nuclear talks. During a press conference late Friday at Beijing\'s United Nations representative office near South Korean embassy, Lynn Pascoe, U.N. under-secretary general for political affairs, said North Korea "talked a lot about" South Korea during his four-day visit to the reclusive country. His answer came in response to a reporter\'s question on whether the North expressed any desire to improve ties with the relevant countries participating in the six-country consortium aimed at dampen Pyongyang\'s nuclear ambition. Pascoe, however, stopped short of going into details. Pascoe arrived in Seoul Saturday to brief South Korean officials, including South Korea\'s chief nuclear negotiator, Wi Sung-lac. Pascoe told reporters in Beijing that the North is "not eager" to come back to the six-country negotiation table. "Their attitude right now is, certainly they\'re not happy with the (U.N.-imposed) sanctions," Pascoe said. "They certainly were not eager, not ruling out but not eager, to return to the six-party talks." South Korea, together with the U.S. and Japan, demands the North return to the negotiation table without conditions attached. "North Korea said it\'s not yet ready to return to the six-party talks due to conditions, including the financial sanctions," Pascoe\'s team later also said. Pascoe, a former U.S. ambassador to Indonesia is the highest-ranking U.N. diplomat to visit North Korea since 2004. The U.N. official had been on a four-day trip to Pyongyang from Tuesday. Pascoe\'s delegation included Kim Won-soo, special adviser to U.N. Secretary General Bank Ki-moon. In North Korea, they met with senior North Korean officials, including Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People\'s Assembly, the second-highest official there after Kim Jong-il. The high-level U.N. envoy\'s visit to North Korea comes amid the prolonged stalemate of the nuclear disarmament talks and raised an expectation that the world body may more actively participate in the multi-year protracted matter, by considering, possibly, a visit by the South Korean-born U.N. chief to North Korea. In July last year, Ban said he was willing to visit North Korea to help resolve the North Korean nuclear tension, if necessary. Pascoe\'s delegation, however, said, at the present, there is no such plan. Meanwhile, Kim Kye-gwan, the North\'s chief nuclear envoy left for Pyongyang today, after meeting with key Chinese officials in dealing with the North\'s nuclear affairs, including Wu Dawei, China\'s newly-minted special representative for Korean affairs, a position higher than a chief nuclear negotiator and is comparable to the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, held by Stephen Bosworth. Earlier on Thursday, Kim told reporters in Beijing that he "exchanged important opinions with China on the matters of a peace treaty ∼ and the resumption of the six-party talks." Sunny Lee

13 февраля 2010г.

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