Hawaii to host talks on N. Korea

Senior officials from the U.S., S. Korea and Japan are expected to meet in Hawaii in June, and N. Korea’s nuclear program is expected to be foremost on their agenda. Reuters is reporting that the high-level trilateral meeting may set the stage for a five-way meeting in Malaysia that would bring in China as well as N. Korea.

The Kyodo News reported yesterday that a joint statement on N. Korea might be one of the key outcomes of the meeting here, and that the three nations may refuse any aid negotiation until Pyongyang abandons its nuclear program.

Pyongyang has long sought one-on-one negotations with the U.S., but the Bush Administration has maintained that all talks be regional in scope.

The Hawaii meeting is part of a regular series of meetings of representatives from the three countries known as the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group (TCOG). Its current focus is coordination of their respective policies toward N. Korea.

At the group’s meeting in Washington, D.C. in January, a a joint statement was issued calling upon N. Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program, which constitutes a violation of its international commitments.

At the time, TCOG delegates reiterated their intention to pursue a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the issue.

TCOG was formalized in Hawaii in April 1999.

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