BEIJING – BEIJING (AP) — A special U.S. envoy arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for talks on restarting stalled negotiations on North Korea's nuclear disarmament, although he said no quick breakthroughs are likely.
North Korea walked out of the six-nation talks last year to protest international criticism of its long-range rocket launch. Prospects for resuming the talks have dimmed after the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.
"There is no reason to expect there is going to be a flurry of diplomatic activity in the next few weeks," Ambassador Stephen Bosworth told reporters in Tokyo before flying to Beijing on Wednesday. "It is going to take some time."
He did not elaborate after arriving at Beijing's airport.
American, South Korean and Japanese officials have called on North Korea to acknowledge responsibility for the warship's sinking and express a sincere willingness to disarm before the talks resume. North Korea denies it launched a torpedo to sink the warship.
Bosworth said negotiators are not interested in resuming talks until it is clear that North Korea is prepared to take "specific and concrete" actions.
He added that discussing the lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by the United Nations, the U.S. and other countries can occur only after the North has shown a willingness to make progress in the talks.
He said discussing lifting sanctions at this point is "very premature."
"I would not rule out the possibility of direct U.S.-DPRK talks," he said, referring to North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "What is important to us and other six-party partners is that North Korea takes the talks seriously."
The talks involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, the U.S. and Russia. Bosworth said he would visit Russia soon, although it is not part of his current Asian trip.
Associated Press Writer Eric Talmadge in Tokyo contributed to this report.