Beijing — Two U.S. lawmakers who visited North Korea said Saturday that Pyongyang appears ready to return to disarmament talks as promised the week of Sept. 12, but still wants a nuclear reactor - a key sticking point.
North Korean officials did not name a date, "but there was strong confidence that this would go forth on a timely basis, as has been indicated," said U.S. Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He traveled to the North this week with U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif.
North Korea said earlier it would return to six-nation talks the week of Sept. 12 after a postponement that it blamed on U.S.-South Korean military exercises and Washington's appointment of a human rights envoy to monitor the North. The talks also include South Korea, host China, Japan and Russia.
Leach said North Korean officials affirmed their desire for a light-water nuclear reactor as part of a peaceful nuclear program, an issue that deadlocked the last session of talks in August.