North Korean officials will attend an annual security conference next week that usually brings together government officials and scholars from all six nations involved in long-stalled negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, according to the forum's organizers on Saturday.
Organized by the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) of the University of California, San Diego, the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) has served as an opportunity for informal dialogue between North Korea and its nuclear negotiation partners -- South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
North Korea, which conducted its fourth nuclear test in January this year, did not attend the NEACD in 2014 and 2015.
This year's forum will be held in Beijing next week with officials from North Korea planning to take part.
"I can confirm that representatives from the North Korean government will attend," Eric Anderson, an analyst in charge of media inquiry at the IGCC, told Yonhap News Agency via e-mail.
The six-party talks were last held in late 2008 and diplomatic efforts to resume the negotiations on ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions have produced little results as the North showed no signs of giving up its nuclear weapons program.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department said Amb. Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy will visit China next week to attend the forum.
Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned that North Korea appears to have restarted its main nuclear bomb fuel plant.
If the warning by the IAEA is correct, it would be the latest move by North Korea in expanding its nuclear weapons program, despite tightened international sanctions. (Yonhap)