The U.S. and North Korea made “a little bit” of progress in their first round of talks since the death of Kim Jong Il, though there were no breakthroughs, U.S. special representative Glyn Davies said today.
Davies, who heads to South Korea tomorrow, told reporters that the two sides talked about denuclearization, uranium enrichment, humanitarian issues and improving ties on the Korean peninsula. He said the U.S. needs to “look at what the North Koreans had to say to us” and evaluate the results of the two days of talks.
The U.S. is looking for signals about North Korea’s direction since Kim Jong Un took over after his father’s death on Dec. 17. The meetings are the third since the U.S. resumed direct talks with North Korea in efforts to bring the country back to six-party negotiations aimed at persuading it to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
Davies told reporters that the word “breakthrough” was too strong to describe the talks and there had been no dramatic change in how the North Koreans presented their views. His counterpart in the talks was First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan.
The North backed out of the six-party talks over its nuclear program in April 2009 and has shown no sign since Kim Jong Un took over that it’s willing to resume them. The participants in the talks are Russia, China, the U.S., Japan and the two Koreas,
Last October, Kim Jong Il said North Korea was ready to restart the talks as long as they occur without preconditions. The U.S. State Department said in August that North Korea must refrain from nuclear testing and missile launches and meet other conditions before the talks can resume. The North revealed a secret uranium-enrichment program in 2010.