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U.S., South Korea agree six-party forum for nuke talks with DPRK

2009-09-22 16:30 BJT

NEW YORK, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan of the Republic of Korea agreed at discussions in New York on Monday to retain the six-party format for any talks involving the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) focusing on nuclear issues.

"We had another very strong meeting between the United States and South Korea," Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, told reporters after the hour-long session on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly annual debate.

"I think at the top of the list was the desire of both countries to remain in very close contact when it comes to North Korea," he said. "We agreed on several principles that will guide our work together over the course of the coming months."

One of those was the reaction to Pyongyang's proposal for bilateral talks with Washington, something long opposed by the United States.

But Campbell did not rule out the possibility of such discussions within the framework of the China, DPRK, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States talks.

"There have been a series of interactions between the United States and its partners in the six-party framework," he said, referring to meetings U.S. Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, special representative for the DPRK policy, has been having in the respective capitals, winding up last week.

"The essential focus from each of our partners is this, that it is essential that we return to a six-party framework and that we will encourage strongly North Korea interlocutors to accept that reality," the assistant secretary said, who himself returned only Sunday night from Japan.