US Enters 2nd Day of North Korea Talks

Officials looking for concrete signs of change
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 29, 2011 9:47 AM CDT
Kim Kye Gwan, left, first vice foreign minister of North Korea, arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, on Tuesday, July 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/Andrew Burton)

(Newser) – US officials, heading into a second day of talks with North Korea today, are looking for concrete signs that the nuclear-armed country is willing to take "irreversible steps" to give up its nuclear weapons programs. The State Department called yesterday's five hours of talks "serious and business-like." The US wants to determine if North Korea is ready to fulfill its commitments under a 2005 joint declaration requiring the North to abandon all nuclear weapons programs and allow the return of international weapons inspectors.

In exchange, Pyongyang would get better relations with its Asian neighbors, energy assistance, and a pledge from Washington that its troops won't attack the North. "They've been down this road before and it's a chance for us to gauge their seriousness," said a State Department spokesperson yesterday. "What we're looking for is a concrete indication that they're going to move forward." Click for more on the talks.

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