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North Korean nuclear negotiator begins talks in Moscow

A high-ranking North Korean official with long experience in nuclear talks began a series of meetings in Moscow on Thursday aimed at reviving the stalled six-party process after months of tensions.

Russian officials said North Korea’s first vice foreign minister Kim Kye-Gwan has begun a meeting with First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.

“We will discuss the prospects of launching a new six-party negotiating process,” Morgulov told reporters earlier in the week.

“Russia has always firmly insisted that the six-party process has no alternatives,” he said. “We will discuss this with our North Korean partners.”

Kim has been a key figure in the talks aimed at persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

The negotiations began in 2003 but have been long dormant. The six-party process also involve the United States, China, South Korea and Japan.

Kim has been a key figure in earlier six-party talks.

The trip comes as North Korea reaches out internationally after months of high tension triggered by its third nuclear test in February.

North Korea has vowed never to give up its nuclear power but says it is open to direct talks with the United States. Kim late last month discussed restarting the six-party talks in Beijing with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.