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North Korea Says It Is Prepared To Give Up Nuclear Programs

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (C) poses for a photo with negotiators for the six-party talks (L-R) US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Christopher Hill, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev, South Korea's Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-soon and Director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kenichiro Sasae ahead of the meeting at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, 26 July 2005. The US said 26 July it recognised North Korea as a 'sovereign nation' and was ready to address Pyongyang's security concerns as it called for a full and verifiable dismantling of the north's nuclear weapons. AFP PHOTO/Elizabeth Dalziel/Pool

Beijing (AFP) Jul 26, 2005
North Korea said Tuesday it was ready to work with other countries to denuclearise the Korean peninsula and called for "strategic decisions" to make this possible.

"We are fully ready and prepared for that," said Kim Kye-Gwan, North Korea's chief delegate at multilateral talks here aimed at dismantling his country's nuclear programs.

"We think that the resuming of the talks itself is important but the fundamentally important thing is to make real progress in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

"To that end, the parties concerned need to eventually remove the threat of a nuclear war from the Korean peninsula and to have a firm political will and a strategic decision to realize the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

"As long as all the parties demonstrate wisdom and the spirit of cooperation ... our ship will reach the final destination of denuclearisation."

The current standoff was sparked in October 2002 when Washington accused the North of operating a nuclear weapons program based on enriched uranium in violation of a 1994 agreement.

At the last round of talks North Korea rejected a US offer that would have required an up-front pledge to dismantle all its nuclear programs before it could get energy and other assistance.

The North instead wanted a step-by-step approach, fearing it could come under attack by the United States.

It has since said it already possesses nuclear weapons.

"I'd like to brainstorm with you by putting together our wisdom to prevent these talks from being ceremonial," added Kim.

The comments came a day after the United States and North Korea held a rare bilateral meeting, described by US chief negotiator Christopher Hill as "businesslike".

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Analysis: How To Denuclearize Korea
Seoul, (UPI) July 26, 2005
Hopes are running high for progress in the six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons drive as negotiators have started "open-ended" discussions on an optimistic note.

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