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North Korea, Indonesia foreign ministers hold bilateral talks

From Kathy Quiano, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • North Korean official is in Indonesia for a United Nations event
  • The topics include six-party talks and the sinking of a South Korean ship
  • The reclusive nation last year cut off talks over criticism of its nuclear and missile tests

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- The Indonesian foreign minister on Monday held bilateral talks with his North Korean counterpart that addressed various issues, including six-party talks and the hostilities over the sinking of a South Korean war ship.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said he saw a "readiness to return to the six-party talks" after the meeting in Jakarta.

North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun did not address reporters.

North Korea last year cut off the six-party talks -- which also involve the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia -- after international criticism of its nuclear and missile tests.

"We are trying to understand what their concerns are and trying to push them along the lines of returning back to the six-party talks," Natalegawa said.

"They say that they wish to have parity before six-party talks can resume. So we try to define ... what they meant when they use that kind of terminology. ... I feel that it's not insurmountable."

Natalegawa said the six-party talks would be a good forum for progress.

North Korea also expressed concerns over the recent U.S.-South Korea military exercises conducted off the coast of South Korea, Natalegawa said.

Pak reiterated his nation's denial of involvement in the sinking of a South Korean naval ship in March, Natalegawa said.

The March attack on the Cheonan killed 46 South Korean sailors. An international investigation blamed North Korea for the sinking, an assertion the North has denied.

Natalegawa said he saw no indication that North Korea will escalate tensions in the Korean peninsula. They "will only respond if provoked," he said.

The Indonesian prime minister said the nation has "long-standing collaboration" relations with North Korea.

Pak is in Jakarta to attend a U.N. millennium development goals event scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

 
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