North Korea and its five negotiating partners will meet as scheduled this month to discuss regional security even though their broader nuclear disarmament talks are stalled, South Korea said Monday.
A foreign ministry statement said the working group meeting would be held in Moscow on February 19-20. The talks group the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, China and Japan. The last full meeting in Beijing in December ended in deadlock because of disagreements over how the North's declaration of its nuclear activities should be verified.
Russia chairs a working group considering a peace and security mechanism for Northeast Asia. The other four working groups deal with energy aid for the North, denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, normalizing North Korea-US relations and normalizing North Korea-Japan ties.
Two previous meetings have been held on a security mechanism, the first in March 2007 on the sidelines of full six-party talks in Beijing followed by the second five months later in Moscow. Little progress was made amid slow going in the wider discussions.
A six-nation deal signed in February 2007 offers the North energy aid, normalized ties with Washington and Tokyo and a permanent peace pact if it dismantles its atomic plants and hands over all nuclear weapons and material.