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U.S. Envoy Says Nuke Talks Candid With N. Korea

U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth at a Seoul press briefing after a visit to Pyongyang on December 10
SEOUL (Reuters) -- The U.S. envoy for North Korea says he had candid talks with officials in Pyongyang and that there was common understanding on the need to implement a long-stalled nuclear weapons disarmament deal.

Stephen Bosworth said he met First Vice Foreign Minister Kang Sok-ju, the man regarded as the mastermind of North Korea's nuclear diplomacy and one of the closest aides to leader Kim Jong-il.

"They agree on the centrality of the six-party process and agree on the need to continue the implementation of the joint statement," he said referring to a 2005 deal under which the North takes apart its nuclear arms program in exchange for massive aid and better diplomatic standing.

Bosworth said it remains to be seen when or how the nuclear talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States that have been dormant for about a year can resume.

He also met the North's top negotiator to the six-way talks, Kim Kye-gwan.