North Korea Reportedly Agrees to Resume Six-way Nuclear Talks

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said envoys from China, the United States and North Korea met in Beijing and agreed to continue discussions with Russia, Japan and South Korea in December.

President Bush said he welcomed North Korea’s acceptance of continued talks but would send teams to Asia to ensure U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed after the North’s nuclear test on Oct. 9 were enforced.

The president credited China with drawing North Korea back into negotiations.

“I am pleased and I want to thank the Chinese,” Mr. Bush told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

China cut off oil exports to North Korea last month in response to international criticism over the nuclear test, The New York Times reported.

After the test, North Korea said it would conduct bilateral negotiations with the United States, but U.S. officials rejected the two-way talks in favor of multilateral ones.

Six-party talks stalled in November, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has refused to return to them until the United States lifts financial restrictions put in place last year for money-laundering and counterfeiting, Bloomberg News reported.

Hill described some issues that again may derail the negotiations, including the U.S. financial restrictions, how to make sure the North sticks to its disarmament commitments and the diplomatic damage done after the nuclear test, according to Reuters.

And North Korea has made no explicit promise not to conduct any more tests, Hill added.