The United States and South Korea were finishing up war maneuvers Wednesday aimed at North Korea after a deadly attack and discussing whether to hold more, as China tried to restart the aid-for-nuclear-disarmament talks coveted by the North.
Beijing is pressing for an emergency meeting in coming days to discuss ways to ease tensions embroiling the region after the North Korean artillery attack on a front-line island that killed four South Koreans and wounded 18 others on Nov. 23. But Washington, Tokyo and Seoul are wary of talking with the North.
Beijing wants talks among the six nations who have negotiated over North Korea’s nuclear program—the two Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States. After walking away from the six-nation talks in April 2009, Pyongyang has shown it is now eager to restart them to gain much-needed fuel oil and aid in exchange for nuclear disarmament.
Seoul has reacted coolly, saying North Korea must show real commitment to disarm and noting that the North has gone in the wrong direction with its revelation late last month of a new uranium enrichment facility that would give North Korea a second way to make nuclear bombs.