UN chief-to-be holds hope for Korean nuclear talks

Incoming United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged patience over talks to end North Korea’s nuclear-weapons programme.

The latest round of six-country negotiations ended last week in Beijing but failed to make progress, with Pyongyang and Washington blaming each other for the impasse.

“We need to be patient and we should not lose hope,” the former South Korean foreign minister told reporters during a visit to Seoul. “As I have said before, finding a solution through a multilateral framework takes time.”

Ban said it was unfortunate that the three-year-long talks have not made much progress, adding he had no immediate plans to visit the reclusive North.

Some analysts and officials have suggested it may be time to scrap the talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States because a breakthrough is unlikely.

Ban, who spent a great deal of time on North Korea when he was foreign minister, has said problems posed by Pyongyang’s policies will be a top priority when he becomes secretary general next month.—Reuters

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