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North Korea Urges Practical US Action To Build Confidence

To build confidence is "the most important foundation" for solving all issues between the two Cold War foes, Rodong Sinmun said.

Seoul, Korea (AFP) Oct 26, 2005
North Korea on Wednesday urged the United States to take practical measures for building confidence between the two countries if it wants to end a standoff over the Stalinist country's nuclear weapons program.

The United States is required to take "a practical action to remove mistrust and hostility between the two sides and create an atmosphere of confidence," the North's ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in a commentary.

To build confidence is "the most important foundation" for solving all issues between the two Cold War foes, it said.

"Everything depends on how faithfully the US, a long-standing assailant, acts, clearly understanding that to build confidence is a crucial foundation for solving the issues between the two sides including the nuclear issue."

The commentary came two days after North Korea said it would attend the fifth round of six-party nuclear disarmament talks at a date to be agreed.

A South Korean official has said the fifth round of talks, involving the two Koreas, China, the United States, Japan and Russia, would probably take place in the second week of November.

Li Bin, Beijing's special envoy for Korean affairs who visited Pyongyang a week ago, will fly into Seoul on Friday to set a date.

At the last round in Beijing in September, North Korea agreed to a statement of principles under which it would give up its nuclear weapons in return for energy and security guarantees.

But shortly after agreeing to the statement, Pyongyang said it would not dismantle its nuclear arsenal before the United States supplies it with a light-water atomic reactor to generate electricity.

The United States says North Korea, a self-avowed nuclear power, must first disarm before getting incentive bonuses, including the nuclear reactor.

The commentary said the United States should "square its words with its action."

"If the US again demands (North Korea) do something only in disregard of its commitments under the joint statement, it will be of no help to solving the issue and result in only augmenting mistrust," it said.

Song Min-Soon, South Korea's top negotiator for six-party talks, said Tuesday that the November meeting should not be distracted by the dispute over a new light-water reactor.

"We have to to tackle a number of issues, such as the dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, economic aid and normalization of diplomatic relations, before addressing the construction of a light-water reactor," Song said.

The nuclear crisis flared up in October 2002 after the United States accused North Korea of running a secret uranium-enrichment program.

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US Senate Scraps Project To Build Nuclear 'Bunker Buster' Bomb
Washington DC (AFP) Oct 26, 2005
A US Senate panel decided Wednesday to scrap funding for a program to develop "bunker buster" bombs - small-scale, tactical nuclear weapons once deemed an indispensable addition to the US anti-terrorism arsenal.

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