Senior nuclear officials from South and North Korea are convening for a rare meeting in Beijing, China.
According to BBC, Wi Sung-lac, South Korea’s principal nuclear envoy, said he and his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, will primarily discuss how to end Pyongyang's nuclear program, among other issues.
Rather than discussing a specific program, I plan to talk about making overall progress toward denuclearization, Wi told reporters.
The two men met at a regional summit in late July in Bali -- the first such tete-a-tete since negotiations over denuclearization collapsed two years ago when North Korea walked out of a six-party nuclear talks session.
As long ago as 2005, North Korea agreed to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for certain economic and political incentives. However, by 2009, Pyongyang cancelled such negotiations and carried out a second nuclear test. It also said it had stated an uranium enrichment program.
The meeting in China follows two years of unusually steep tensions on the Korean peninsula. In March 2010, Seoul accused North Korea of sinking one of its warships, costing the lives of 46 people. Last November, North Korea missiles shelled a border island, killing four South Koreans.
Although there now appears to be a renewed vigor in ending the nuclear stalemate on both sides, Seoul officials stipulate that Pyongyang must admit responsibility for the 2010 attacks, before peace talks can truly resume.
The U.S. and South Korea want North Korea to cease all nuclear activities, end its uranium enrichment program, and also permit United Nations inspectors into the country before the negotiations re-start.
The Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, who is hosting the talks, said: The parties [North and South Korea] must seize the opportunities and keep the momentum of the dialogue going.”