Nations set conditions for N. Korea talks: report


TOKYO — The United States, South Korea and Japan have set five conditions North Korea must meet before they resume stalled six-party talks that also include China and Russia, a news report said Thursday. Japan’s English-language Asahi Shimbun reported that Washington, Tokyo and Seoul want Pyongyang to fulfill its 2005 pledge to abandon its nuclear program; to stop its uranium enrichment program; and to accept inspectors from the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency. It said the other two conditions had not been disclosed.

Without naming sources, the Asahi said the terms were agreed when the U.S, Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers met in Washington this month following North Korea’s deadly artillery strike on the South. China, the host of the six-party talks, and Russia had been informed of the five conditions, according to the newspaper. The report also said that China’s state councilor Dai Bingguo had brought up the conditions when he met North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il on Dec. 9. North Korea abandoned the six-nation aid-for-disarmament talks and staged a second atomic weapons test in 2009. Tensions flared again last month when the North disclosed a new uranium enrichment program and then shelled a South Korean island on Nov. 23, killing four people. Beijing has been under renewed pressure to rein in its ally Pyongyang. The United States, South Korea and Japan gave the cold shoulder to a Chinese proposal for emergency six-way negotiations, saying North Korea must first demonstrate its commitment to change. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg was likely to discuss the five conditions in meetings with Chinese officials this week, the Asahi said.