ASEAN and 5 regional naitons to pressure DPRK on talks

From the BBC:

N Korea talks ‘unlikely’ at Asean

Hopes are fading that an Asean summit in Malaysia can kick-start negotiations on the North Korean nuclear stand-off.

Ministers from all six nations involved in talks on the North’s nuclear aims will be at the meeting later this week, but officials say progress is unlikely.

But the Malaysian hosts say North Korea has already signalled its unwillingness to restart the stalled talks this week, and a senior Chinese official told reporters that Beijing sees no reason for the other five countries involved to meet if North Korea refuses to participate.

From Yonhap: (7/26/2006)

U.S. formally asks N. Korea to attend six-way meeting in Malaysia: sources
By Lee Chi-dong

The United States has formally asked North Korea to join it in a six-way gathering with South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan on the sidelines of this week’s Asian regional security forum, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

The request was delivered through Pyongyang’s mission to the United Nations in New York earlier this week, they added.

But it is unclear whether North Korea will accept the offer, with the U.S. ruling out any bilateral talks with the communist state outside of a six-way format.

The North’s intention is expected to be made public when its foreign minister Paek Nam-sun arrives here on Thursday afternoon to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum.

From the BBC: (7/25/2006)

Asean concerned at N Korea test

South East Asian nations have expressed concern over North Korea’s missile tests and urged a return to talks on its nuclear programme. The tests could affect regional peace and stability, the statement said.  The appeal came in a joint statement issued after a meeting of Asean foreign ministers in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Foreign ministers from the 10 countries which make up Asean (the Association of South East Asian Nations) are holding talks in Malaysia until the weekend.  They will be joined later in the week by participants from other Asian nations for the Asean Regional Forum.  US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to attend the conference on Thursday. Officials say North Korean Foreign Minister Paek Nam-sun will also take part.  Representatives from the other four nations participating in talks with North Korea – China, Russia, South Korea and Japan – will also be present, raising the possibility of informal talks on the nuclear issue.

But it is not clear whether North Korea will agree. South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said he had proposed a meeting with his North counterpart, but received no confirmation of it.

In the joint statement, Asean urged the six dialogue partners to “utilise their presence during the ARF to promote the resumption of the talks”.

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