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A rare meeting

· An attempt to re-start Six-Party Talks on denuclearization ·

Yesterday at the United Nations, a rare and delicate meeting began between the United States and North Korea, exactly 58 years after the signing of the armistice which ended the Korean War on July 27, 1953. The vice-Foreign Minister of the communist regime in Pyongyang, Kim Kye Gwan, was met by Stephen Bosworth, Special Representative of the White House for North Korea and host of the face-to-face meeting at the US diplomatic offices at the UN. Despite the perplexities of Washington, Pyongyang has been pushing for direct negotiations with the Obama Administration for years, saying it is ready to discuss its nuclear program which had caused the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against the Stalinist regime of Kim Jong II. The meeting was described as, “serious and constructive,” by both sides, in the hope that it will contribute to re-starting Six-Party Talks (North Korea, South Korea, United States, Japan, Russia, and China) for North Korean denuclearization. “The atmosphere is good, the meeting is constructive and interesting. We exchanged opinions on general questions,” said Vice-Minister Kim Kye Gwan. “Yesterday’s discussions were serious and business-like. We are ready to continue the meetings today,” said the US Department of State in a press release. These “exploratory” discussions, as the US has called them, have the objective of re-starting Six-Party Talks which have been suspended since December, 2008. “It is an opportunity for us to sound out the North Koreans and evaluate their level of seriousness,” said a spokesperson for the US Department of State, emphasizing that, “words are not enough.” Washington’s position is well-known: the spokesperson said that, “the communist regime of Pyongyang must respect its commitments” taken in 2005, “and take concrete measures towards denuclearization.”

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