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U.S., DPRK make progress in Geneva talks as differences remain

10-26-2011 14:36 BJT

GENEVA, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Both officials from the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Tuesday progress was made on some points after two days of direct talks here in Geneva, while admitting that many differences remain.

In a brief statement issued after the talks, U.S. Special Representative for DPRK Policy Stephen Bosworth said "We've had some very positive and generally very constructive talks with the DPRK delegation."

Bosworth said the two countries had narrowed their differences on several points and explored differences on other points, but he declined to specify on which points the two sides achieved progress.

Meanwhile, he admitted that there were still "many differences not all of which can be overcome quickly."

Bosworth said he was confident that "with continued efforts, the two sides would reach a reasonable basis of departure for formal negotiations for return to the six-party process."

First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, head of the DPRK delegation, told reporters that progress was made on some issues, while differences over other issues remained and would be further discussed.

He said both sides held talks on such core issues as improving bilateral relationship and establishing mutual trust.

Both delegations agreed to maintain contact with each other through the DPRK mission to the United Nations.

The two-day closed-door meeting between the two sides opened Monday morning at the U.S. embassy in Geneva amid skeptical voices and concerns.

Before the discussion started, U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner noted last Wednesday the exploratory nature of such talks, saying that they were designed for Washington to see "whether the DPRK is ready to take any of the steps sought by the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) for the resumption of the six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula."

On the same day, DPRK official news agency KCNA cited remarks from an official of the foreign ministry as saying that Washington attacked the DPRK system while agreeing to hold dialogue to build confidence and improve relations based on respect for sovereignty and equality, which left the DPRK skeptical about the U.S. sincerity in pursuing talks.

After the first day of talks, Bosworth hosted a dinner for the DPRK delegation, which was regarded by the U.S. special representative as "a very positive dinner."

The DPRK delegation hosted the second day's discussion at the DPRK mission in Geneva. They held a working lunch for the U.S. delegation before the two sides sat down for an afternoon session which lasted for about one hour.

The meeting was the second round following similar discussions between Bosworth and Kim in late July in New York.

The six-party talks, which involves the DPRK, the ROK, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, were launched in 2003, but got bogged down in December 2008 after finishing the sixth round. The DPRK quit the talks in April 2009.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: Xinhua

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