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North Korea to resume six-party talks

North Korea has agreed to resume six-party talks aimed at steering the isolated communist state away from nuclear weapons, a Cambodian government spokesman said on Saturday.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong told reporters on Saturday that North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-Chun had agreed to return to the talks during a meeting with his Cambodian counterpart, Hor Namhong.

“Cambodia has expressed warm welcome and happiness with the positive step,” Kuong said.

The six-party talks, involving North Korea, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States, stalled in 2009 when Pyongyang walked out in protest against a new round of UN sanctions following nuclear and missile tests by the North.

In June, Hor Namhong visited North Korea where Kuong said he put in groundwork to bring the state back to the table.

During sidelines talks at this week’s ASEAN Regional Forum hosted by chair Cambodia, Pak had also focused on boosting bilateral trade as well as investment in agriculture, hydropower, construction and road infrastructure, Kuong said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the positive announcement contrasted with the “unprecedented” failure, under Cambodia’s watch, of ASEAN member states to issue a joint communiqué at the end of the summit.

“I’m not sure if this kind of positive development could compensate for the chairmanship’s failure,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vong Sokheng at sokheng.vong@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from David Boyle

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