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Direct talks with Pyongyang signal flexibility: Expert

The latest proposal by Washington to hold direct bilateral talks with Pyongyang signals more flexibility in the United States' policy toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Chinese experts said Sunday.

But they noted that such negotiations would still be held under the framework of the Six-Party Talks.

The US said on Friday it was prepared to accept the DPRK's offer for direct talks in an effort to persuade it to return to stalled international nuclear disarmament negotiations.

US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that no decision has been made on when or where such a meeting would happen.

He insisted that there has been no shift from previous US statements that Washington would only meet with the DPRK as part of the six-nation nuclear negotiating process.

The DPRK pulled out of the talks in April to protest international criticism of its rocket launch.

"If a bilateral discussion will lead us back to a six-party process, then why would we not do that?" Crowley said.

Wang Fan, a professor at the Foreign Affairs University, called the US proposal "a flexible move" in response to the DPRK's earlier call for direct talks.

But he said the US policy toward Pyongyang has been consistent. "On the one hand it is tightening sanctions, on the other hand it opens a door to negotiations."

Wang said what is important now is whether both sides can find common ground if they engage in direct talks.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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