Seoul, Oct 23 (IANS) South Korea on Friday pressed North Korea to hold bilateral talks on its nuclear programme, saying Seoul is committed to playing a more active role in addressing the matter.
“We intend to meet a responsible North Korean official, in charge of the nuclear issue, anytime and anywhere,” Yonhap news agency quoted South Korea’s top nuclear envoy Hwang Joon-kook as saying at an international conference on diplomacy attended by a number of foreign diplomats and scholars.
With such direct dialogue, the two Koreas “will be able to overcome differences, seen impossible to narrow, and find common ground step by step,” he added.
Seoul is “taking the driving seat” in efforts to resolve the nuclear issue, said Hwang.
He cited a joint statement exclusively on Pyongyang by President Park Geun-hye and US President Barack Obama.
In the document issued after their summit last week, the leaders reaffirmed the allies’ common goal of achieving the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea in a peaceful manner.”
Hwang said North Korea will be unable to gain economic assistance, normalisation of relations with the US, and the signing of a peace treaty, which were agreed upon in the September 19, 2005, deal.
The North struck the denuclearisation-for-aid deal with its five dialogue partners — South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia. But the implementation of the agreement remains suspended with the six-party talks stalled for seven years.