Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

N. Korea to Resume Nuclear Negotiations

BEIJING -- North Korea agreed on Tuesday to return to stalled six-party talks on ending its nuclear program some three weeks after staging its first nuclear test and a U.S. envoy said he expected "substantial progress."

In an informal meeting in Beijing, North Korea, the United States and China agreed to resume talks in the near future at a time convenient for all six parties, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on its web site.

The other three countries involved in the talks are South Korea, Japan and Russia. A fifth round of talks in Beijing broke off last November without progress and North Korea later protested over a U.S. crackdown on its international finances.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told a news conference he expected "substantial progress" from the next round of talks, possibly in November or December, after he met his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye Gwan, in Beijing.

North Korea had made no explicit promises not to conduct any further nuclear tests, Hill said, adding that a United Nations Security Council resolution on Pyongyang remained in force.

"I think it's self-evident they should not engage in such provocations," Hill said of further tests.

The talks would address North Korea's concerns with the U.S. financial measures, possibly through a working group, he said, adding that Pyongyang needed to abandon "illicit activities" that Washington has said include currency counterfeiting.

The UN Security Council voted on Oct. 14 to impose financial and arms sanctions on North Korea after its Oct. 9 nuclear test.

In Washington, the White House welcomed Pyongyang's decision to return to the talks. A senior U.S. official said, however, that implementation of UN sanctions would continue.

Japan's top government spokesman, Yasuhisa Shiozaki, welcomed the resumption of the multilateral talks, saying the six-party forum was the best framework to resolve the standoff, Kyodo news agency reported.

One Japanese government official said: "We think this could be a step in a positive direction, but we still have some caution."

Earlier on Tuesday, before word of the agreement to resume talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Beijing had no plans to sever aid to or trade with North Korea.