(AFP) – May 13, 2011
SEOUL — The US special envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth will visit South Korea next week to coordinate policy towards nuclear-armed Pyongyang, diplomatic sources said Friday.
Bosworth will arrive Monday and meet Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan, the South's chief nuclear envoy Wi Sung-Lac and top presidential security adviser Chun Young-Woo during his three-day stay, they said.
Discussions are likely to focus on stalled nuclear disarmament talks and the issue of providing the hungry communist state with food aid, Yonhap news agency said.
They would also exchange views on frozen inter-Korean relations and President Lee Myung-Bak's suggestion that he could invite the North's leader Kim Jong-Il to a multinational nuclear summit in Seoul next March.
Lee, who is on a European tour, said in Berlin this week that the North should announce willingness to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions as a precondition for summit attendance.
He also called on it to take responsibility for two deadly border incidents last year.
Pyongyang late Wednesday rejected Lee's proposal as "provocative" and "reckless", calling him a traitor.
Its Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Pyongyang must reconsider its stance on pursuing dialogue since it had become clear that Lee is "set to stand in confrontation to the last".
Six-party talks on ending the North's nuclear programmes in return for diplomatic and economic benefits have been stalled since December 2008.
The North fuelled regional security fears last November by disclosing an apparently functional uranium enrichment plant, which could give it a second way to make atomic bombs in addition to its plutonium stockpile.
The North has expressed interest in restarting the six-party forum that also involves China, the United States, Russia, South Korea and Japan.
Seoul and Washington say it should first show it is serious about nuclear disarmament and work to mend ties with the South.
Former US president Jimmy Carter visited North Korea last month and said it was ready for peace talks with the South, but the Seoul government questioned Pyongyang's sincerity.
Cross-border relations have been frigid since Seoul accused Pyongyang of torpedoing a warship in March 2010 with the loss of 46 lives.
The North denies the charge but shelled a South Korean border island last November, killing four people.
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