- For the first time since the death of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, South Korea, the United States and Japan gathered in Washington Tuesday to discuss ways to move forward with resolving North Korea's nuclear issue.
After the closed-door meeting, South Korea's top nuclear negotiator Lim Sung-nam said the three parties agreed that the path to resuming dialogue with the North remains open.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department added there was mutual understanding that their relationship with Pyeongyang would improve through dialogue.
Pledging to stay close with each other on coordinating denuclearization efforts, the three allies agreed to engage with China and Russia in handling issues on the Korean Peninsula.
However, the partner countries are taking their time to assess the situation under the new North Korean leadership before pushing for the resumption of, not only the six-party talks, but any dialogue with the North.
The Kim Jong-un regime, as of late, has blamed the U.S. of linking the North's nuclear issue with humanitarian food assistance.
Before Kim Jong-il's death, the two sides had reportedly agreed on the North suspending its nuclear activities, in return for U.S. nutritional aid.
Washington, for its part, has repeatedly said that it will not provide anything other than nutritional support on humanitarian grounds, in response to the North's request for additional assistance.
North Korea has also been harshly critical of its southern neighbor, declaring that it will not have any dealings with Lee Myung-bak's conservative government.
It even vowed to strengthen its nuclear capacity to be recognized as a nuclear-weapon state.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.