Japan said Friday it would resume bilateral talks with North Korea after a gap of nine months as slow-moving efforts to end Pyongyang's nuclear programmes gather steam.
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak gave an upbeat assessment Friday of North Korea's commitments on nuclear disarmament and urged it to resume two-way talks with Seoul.
The communist state has cut ties with Lee's conservative administration in protest at its tougher stance of linking aid to progress on disarmament.
After enjoying a decade of relatively friendly ties with previous liberal governments in Seoul, it has furiously attacked Lee since he took office in February, labelling him a warmongering "traitor."
However in a speech in Seoul, Lee said: "I positively assess North Korea's cooperation with the international community to denuclearise and see the need to have sincere inter-Korean dialogue."
Lee said six-nation disarmament talks were expected to resume "in the near future" aided by progress in efforts to secure a long-awaited declaration of its nuclear activities.
The North was meant to have handed over a full declaration by December 31 last year under a deal with negotiating partners China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
Disputes over the declaration have blocked the start of the final phase of disarmament -- a permanent dismantling of its nuclear plants and surrender of all atomic material.
Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Sook, who spoke with his North Korean counterpart in Beijing last week, said Sunday that Pyongyang was waiting for the green light that Washington would take the communist nation off a list of states that sponsor terrorism.
US experts are still scrutinising 18,000 pages of documents that Pyongyang presented last month in a prelude to its formal declaration.
Date created : 2008-06-06