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U.S. still cautious about next steps on N. Korea

After "good and constructive" talks with North Korea last week, the United States on Monday maintained a guarded stance on next steps.

U.S. officials neither confirmed nor denied Pyongyang's announcement that the two sides agreed to further dialogue when North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan and Stephen Bosworth, U.S. special representative for policy on the communist nation, met in New York on Thursday and Friday.

"We thought that these were good meetings, that they were constructive. And we're going to consult with our partners on the way forward," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a press briefing.

He added he has nothing to announce yet on Bosworth's potential trips to South Korea, China and Japan to share the results of his talks with Kim.

The North's foreign ministry announced earlier that it agreed to hold additional talks with Washington. The four nations, along with Russia, are members of the six-party talks on the North's nuclear ambitions.

With regard to the North's uranium enrichment program (UEP), Toner reiterated that Pyongyang should live up to its international obligations to abandon all of its nuclear program in exchange for economic and political benefits.

Speaking to reporters in New York on the weekend, the North Korean vice foreign minister claimed its UEP is to "produce electricity."

In New York, meanwhile, Kim attended a seminar Monday with American experts on Korea, hosted by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP), a source said.

The NCAFP refused to reveal the time and venue for the event, only saying a related press conference will be held at 6 p.m.

Kim is scheduled to leave New York for Beijing on Tuesday and stay in the Chinese capital for two days for consultations with Chinese officials, added the source. (Yonhap News)


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