Asia-Pacific

North Korea nuclear talks business-like, says US

File image of Yongbyon reactor from February 2002
Image caption North Korea's nuclear strength remains unclear as efforts to restart talks falter

The US says a first day of talks on North Korea's nuclear programme had been "serious and business-like".

The talks between US North Korea envoy Stephen Bosworth and North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan are to continue on Friday in New York.

US officials stress that the talks are "exploratory", aimed at gauging whether North Korea is serious about resuming negotiations that ended in 2008.

North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

"Today's discussions have been serious and business-like," a US statement said after Thursday's talks. "We look forward to continuing our meetings tomorrow."

Mr Kim said: "The atmosphere was good, the meeting was constructive and interesting. We exchanged views on general issues."

The US wants North Korea to fulfil commitments it signed up to in a 2005 document, which provided for North Korea to end its nuclear programme in return for energy and economic aid.

"We're quite clear, broadly, on what we're looking for, which is for North Korea to live up to its commitments," said state department spokesman Mark Toner.

"It needs to take concrete steps toward denuclearisation."

Six party talks involving North and South Korea, the US, Russia, China and Japan were last held at the end of 2008.

In a surprise move, North Korean officials met their counterparts from the South last week on the sidelines of a security conference in Indonesia.

Tensions between the Koreas increased last year after two attacks that left 50 South Koreans dead.

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