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S Korea discusses N Korea's N-plans with US

The US has urged N Korea to return to the negotiating table, saying restrictions are separate from the arms talks.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 09:24 IST

South Korea's new nuclear envoy held his first meeting with his American counterpart about North Korea's atomic weapons programmeon Monday.

"We exchanged opinions on the situation and discussed general things," Chun Young-woo, Seoul's top nuclear negotiator, saidabout his meeting with Christopher Hill.

The one-hour meeting came as Hill stopped at Seoul's main international airport on his way back to Washington after a trip to Indonesia.

The meeting came as US and North Korean officials prepare to hold a meeting in New York on Tuesday where the North will be briefed on American allegations on Pyongyang's alleged counterfeiting of US dollars, an issue that has contributed to the North's latest boycott of the disarmament talks.

The talks, which involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the US, have been stalled since November as the North has refused to attend unless Washington lifts restrictions imposed on a Macau bank and North Korean companies for their alleged complicity in counterfeiting, money laundering and weapons proliferation.

The US has urged North Korea to return to the negotiating table, saying the restrictions are separate from the arms talks.

Chun said the resumption of the six-way talks depends on North Korea but warned that the talks mean nothing unless progress is made on ending the North's nuclear ambitions.

"It would be good to resume the talks at an early date but the resumption itself is not an objective," Chun said. "The talks would be of no use if no conditions are in place to make any progress."

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 09:24 IST