North Korean and Chinese officials have called for the resumption of six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program, Chinese authorities said Wednesday.
The announcement came as North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, Kim Kye Gwan, was in Beijing for bilateral talks.
Kim and China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui issued statements Wednesday calling for the resumption of the talks to “peacefully solve nuclear issues through dialogue” with all relevant parties.
North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Russia met last decade to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program but those meetings had been discontinued.
Tensions surged months ago in world and regional capitals after North Korea launched a long-range rocket, then conducted an underground nuclear test two months later.
But since, North Korea has proposed high-level talks with the United States to “ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula,” its state news agency reported early Sunday. If new talks actually happen, it will be the second senior-level meeting between the U.S. and North Korea since Kim Jong Un took power.
The first talks were in February 2012, when Kim Kye Gwan held talks in Beijing with Glyn Davies, the U.S. envoy for North Korea policy.
At the time, North Korea agreed to stop nuclear activity at its main facility in Yongbyon and impose a moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches in exchange for 240,000 tons of food assistance.
However, the agreement fell apart after the U.N. imposed sanctions in response to North Korea’s failed long-range rocket launch in April 2012.