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Asia-pacific

North Korea seeks direct talks with Washington, says US governor

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-20

Pyongyang is interested in opening direct talks with the United States said Bill Richardson, a US state governor, after meeting informally with North Korean diplomats at his home in New Mexico this Wednesday.

AFP - Governor Bill Richardson said Wednesday that North Korea was seeking direct talks with the United States after he held informal meetings with North Korean diplomats at his home in New Mexico.

"They want a new format. And the format they want is direct talks with the United States. Now, maybe a compromise might be some kind of direct talks within the six party format, but, again, this is something that diplomats should negotiate," Richardson told CNN.

Pyongyang abandoned six-party talks and vowed to restart its plutonium-producing program in April after a censure from the UN Security Council for testing a long-range rocket. It went on to stage its second nuclear test on May 25.

The United States has refused bilateral talks with North Korea, saying negotations on Pyongyang's nuclear drive are possible only within the context of the six-party forum.

The talks grouping the two Koreas, China, Russia, the United States and Japan became deadlocked last December.

Richardson was speaking to CNN in the middle of two days of talks with senior North Korean diplomats Kim Myong-Gil and Paek Jong-Ho at his home in Santa Fe.

The meetings were requested by the North Koreans and the White House stressed they had not come at the behest of President Barack Obama's administration. North Korea and the United States officially have no diplomatic relations.

Date created : 2009-08-19

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