Talks between US, NK still premature: source
WASHINGTON (Yonhap) -- The United States believes it is still too early to push for the resumption of bilateral talks with North Korea, an informed source said Thursday.
"There is consensus that it's not the right time yet," the diplomatic source said on the condition of anonymity.
The source was referring to the possibility of diplomatic engagement between Washington and Pyongyang on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to be held in Cambodia July 12-13.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to visit the annual security forum, and her North Korean counterpart, Pak Ui-chun, is expected to join in.
But the source left the door open for contact organized by academic circles or other civilian channels.
North Korea and the U.S., which have no formal diplomatic ties, have sometimes used so-called "track-two" meetings to pave the way for government-level dialogue.
North Korea, under new leadership, fired a long-range rocket in April, effectively scrapping the Feb. 29 deal with the U.S. on a set of initial steps towards denuclearization in exchange for massive food aid.
The North was widely expected to conduct another nuclear test or attack South Korea again to make up for the failed rocket launch.
"I think North Korea's restraint from additional provocations following the missile launch is attributable to the China factor," said the source.
South Korea and the U.S. have asked China to rein in the North.
"Seoul and Washington have received a good signal from China (regarding the matter)," the source said.
The source identified a "game change" in dealing with North Korea.
"For the past 20 years, North Korea took the initiative in the game," the source said. "But the phase of the game has changed as South Korea (strongly) raised the issue of North Korean human rights and the livelihood of the North Korean people, a move supported by the U.S."