Six-party talks best approach to denuclearization: Bosworth

by Jun Hongo

Pyongyang’s claim to be furthering its uranium enrichment is a cause for concern, but the issue must be handled within the six-party talks on denuclearizing the North, Japanese and American officials said Monday in Tokyo.

“We see eye to eye that provocative acts by North Korea must be stopped,” Akitaka Saiki, Japan’s chief delegate to the denuclearization talks, told reporters after meeting with Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. envoy on North Korean policy.

“We will handle this matter through diplomatic efforts, within the six-party framework,” he added.

Bosworth is in Tokyo after visiting China and South Korea. He said the U.S. remains open to speaking with the Pyongyang regime, but only within the six-party framework, according to Saiki.

Regarding some conciliatory gestures by Pyongyang, including the release of two U.S. journalists last month, Saiki said its intentions remain unclear. Members of the six-party talks will not be persuaded until the North begins its denuclearization in a verifiable method, he added.

Asked how the incoming Democratic Party of Japan administration will handle negotiations with the hermit state, Saiki assured reporters that political pledges by the DPJ indicate there will be no shift in Tokyo’s position.

While acknowledging that he hasn’t been contacted by DPJ members to be briefed on the issue, he said the U.S. is aware of how the current administration’s policies will be taken over.

North Korea conducted its second nuclear test in May.