South Korea and Japan have agreed on the so-called three-step process to the resumption of the six-party dialogue to denuclearize North Korea.
Seoul's top nuclear negotiator Wi Sung-lac and his visiting Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama recognized on Wednesday the need for the two Koreas to first improve relations, before any other bilateral or multilateral talks take place.
Highlighting that the six-way disarmament roundtable should promptly reopen following the required preliminary negotiations, the two sides noted Pyeongyang will have to act on showing its sincere intent to denuclearize for any form of re-engagement.
The envoys are known to have touched upon the five conditions set by the foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and the US in Washington last December.
[Interview : Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan's top nuclear envoy] "I don't think we've said that these are preconditions but these elements are fulfilled, I don't think of the three stands ready to go for the resumption of the six-party talks."
The five components include the North's suspension of all provocative action, efforts to alleviate regional tensions and mend ties with the South, and abiding by the 2005 joint six-party agreement and the UN Security Council's resolutions that aim to deter its nuclear programs.
And Pyeongyang's uranium enrichment program or UEP would be another unsettled issue to be addressed by the international community prior to the talk resumption.
Reiterating the phrase the six partners won't restart talks for the sake of talks, the Japanese official added that Pyeongyang has to demonstrate a will to make progress, not only on denuclearization but on resolving issues surrounding Japanese abductees to the reclusive regime.
Ahead of the leaders' summit of South Korea, China and Japan, Sugiyama also met with related officials here to discuss nuclear safety, Tokyo's return of royal documents and false claims over Korea's Dokdo islets.
[Reporter : Choi You-sun
email@example.com] "It seems the five parties, including China and Russia, consider a healthy inter-Korean relationship as the basis for re-engaging with North Korea. However, some discrepancies remain on Pyeongyang taking responsiblity for military provocations on South Korea last year and ways to deal with the North's UEP.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News."