South Korea: South Korea’s top nuclear envoy departed on Sunday for the United States for talks on how to convince North Korea to return to stalled international disarmament negotiations.

Wi Sung-lac said his trip would focus on possible direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang as a way to resume broader six-nation nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan, Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korea has been insisting on one-on-one negotiations after it pulled out of the six-party talks to protest international criticism of its rocket launch. Washington, which had strictly demanded the North first return to the six-party talks, is now, considering direct talks as part of its efforts to restart the six-party process.

On Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il reportedly expressed willingness to engage in “bilateral and multilateral talks,” an indication the country could rejoin the six-party process.

Mr. Wi’s office said the envoy would accompany officials attending the U.N. General Assembly and meet U.S. officials to discuss the resumption of the six-party talks.

North Korea’s state media said the country on Friday dispatched a delegation led by Vice Foreign Minister Pak Kil Yon to the U.N. General Assembly.

Keywords: SouthKoreanuclearenvoyleavesforUS

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