Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: A Rare Round of Diplomacy From North Korea’s Top Diplomat

A Southeast Asian diplomatic meeting quietly turned into the first real multiparty bargaining session in eight years to tackle North Korea’s nuclear program, as the country’s top diplomat held a rare round of talks with his counterparts from China, South Korea and Russia. The United States and Japan were the only members of the so-called six-party talks on the North’s nuclear ambitions, which ended in failure in 2009, whose diplomats did not meet this week with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho of North Korea. But Rex W. Tillerson, the American secretary of state, kept the door open for talks, saying at a news conference on Monday that he had no specific preconditions for negotiating with Pyongyang. “Well, the best signal that North Korea could give us that they are prepared to talk would be to stop these missile launches,” Mr. Tillerson said. But when asked how long such a pause would have to last before talks could go forward, Mr. Tillerson demurred. “We’ll know it when we see it,” he said. “We are not going to give someone a specific number of days or weeks. This is really about the spirit of these talks.”

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