Six-way denuclearization talks could resume by April, Yonhap says

SEOUL (Kyodo) The stalled multilateral talks on denuclearizing North Korea could resume by April, a South Korean official was quoted as saying during a visit to the United States, Yonhap News Agency said Sunday.

According to the report, the official, who was not identified, made the remarks Saturday in a meeting with South Korean reporters in Washington.

This is the first time a high-ranking South Korean official has made a specific prediction on when the six-way talks involving the two Koreas, Japan, China, the United States and Russia will likely reconvene.

The South Korean official was quoted by Yonhap as saying North Korea has been holding talks in various quarters about coming back to the table, and Washington has analyzed the situation similarly.

The U.S. has indicated its willingness to agree to another round of direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang if they are to be conducted under the six-way framework, and provided that Pyongyang offers a clear assurance about when it will come back to the six-way parley, the official said.

The official added that China, which presides over the six-way talks, is also working to coordinate matters to make possible the early return of Pyongyang to debate with the other five countries.

North Korea has boycotted the six-way talks since early last year due to sanctions imposed on it by the United Nations for conducting nuclear and missile tests.

Pyongyang has said it will return on condition talks be held on a peace treaty to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-1953 Korean War.