Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said Thursday the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons programs may restart on Sept. 2.
Wu, China's vice foreign minister and top negotiator for the Beijing talks, made the comment in talks in Tokyo with Mizuho Fukushima, head of Japan's Social Democratic Party, party spokesman Tsuyoshi Ito said.
“Although we are still negotiating, our scheduled date to resume six-way talks is Sept. 2. My staff has been in discussion with the United States,” Wu was quoted as saying by Fukushima.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing refused to comment on the date of the talks. Wu later reiterated the date was still tentative, telling reporters that “Sept. 2 is my personal idea - I haven't made a proposal yet.”
The nuclear talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, the United States and Russia have been in recess for several weeks and were expected to resume next week, but no date had yet been specified.
Wu met with Japanese Foreign Ministry officials on Wednesday, including Japan's top negotiator for the North Korea talks, Kenichiro Sasae.
The discussions centered on the north's nuclear weapons program, the timing and agenda of the next round of meetings, and relations between North Korea and Japan, the AP informs.
The North insists it should still have the right to “peaceful” nuclear activities if it gives up its weapons, but Washington wants the communist nation to be nuclear-free.
Earlier this week, the United States predicted it could break an impasse over North Korea's demand in a sign of a softening U.S. stance, Xinhua reports.
Chief U.S. negotiator, Christopher Hill, made this comment Tuesday, adding he cannot be more specific than that because they are in the middle of a negotiation.