North Korea-US nuke talks likely in September

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Washington/Seoul, Aug.26 (ANI): US special envoy Stephen Bosworth is said to have accepted an offer from North Korea for nuclear talks and is expected to visit Pyongyang next month.

According to South Korean media reports, the reported invitation comes after Pyongyang was said to have proposed a summit with South Korea over the weekend, though Seoul denied the report.

The US and South Korean governments reiterated their insistence Monday that the isolated North - often called the "hermit kingdom" - must give up nuclear weapons.

The JoongAng Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, reported Tuesday that Bosworth had accepted the invitation from Pyongyang and would travel to North Korea next month for talks. The report cited a "senior diplomatic source in Washington."

The U.S. delegation will likely visit South Korea, China and Japan in early September and then head to the North, according to the source.

The trip was to be announced officially in early September, immediately before their departure to Pyongyang, the diplomat added.

According to the source, Washington has decided to send Bosworth to Pyongyang as key obstacles in U.S.-North relations have been removed.

Two jailed American reporters were released earlier this month and former U.S. President Bill Clinton confirmed the stability of the Kim Jong-il regime, the source said.

Pyongyang has long sought direct negotiations with Washington about its nuclear program and other issues, hoping to boost its international profile.

The U.S. has said it is willing to talk bilaterally to Pyongyang, but only within the framework of six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

Separately, North Korea and South Korea also agreed Tuesday to hold talks about arranging reunions between families separated by the long-running conflict on the Korean peninsula. (ANI)

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