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US Wants Informal Six Nation NKorea Talks Dec 19

File satellite image of the Korean peninsula.

Tokyo (AFP) Dec 07, 2005
The United States wants an "informal" meeting this month in South Korea of the six nations negotiating on North Korea's nuclear program in the wake of Pyongyang's threat to boycott talks, reports said Wednesday.

North Korea has yet to respond to the proposal for the December 19 meeting of chief delegates on the South Korean resort island of Jeju, Japan's main opposition leader Seiji Maehara was quoted as saying in Washington.

Maehara said he was told of the proposal Tuesday by Jim Foster, the director of the State Department's Office of Korean Affairs, Kyodo News and Jiji Press said.

North Korea warned Tuesday it would stay away from the six-party nuclear negotiations if the United States failed to lift sanctions imposed on the country for circulating fake US dollars.

But the US State Department said the legal action "isn't a matter for negotiation" and should not be linked to the nuclear issue.

The Japanese government also rejected the threat.

"It is unconstructive for North Korea to bring up an issue outside the framework of the six-way negotiations and to try to set up a precondition," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe, the government spokesman.

The latest round of the six-nation talks ended three weeks ago in Beijing in stalemate with North Korea accusing Washington of breaching an agreement in which it agreed to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return for economic and diplomatic benefits.

The negotiators agreed to resume the talks soon. "We want to hold the next six nation talks in January," said Foster, the US official, as quoted by Jiji Press.

"The setting of the six-way talks is important and continuing communication is necessary," he said.

The six-way talks, launched after Washington in 2002 charged the communist state was running a secret uranium-enrichment program, include China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the United States.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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North Korea Boosts Nuke Making Potential
Pyongyang, North Korea (UPI) Dec 07, 2005
North Korea is increasing its industrial capabilities to make nuclear weapons. The continued operation of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor without international inspectors' supervision and successful tests of a new solid-fuel rocket engine have enabled the so-called Hermit Kingdom to make further progress toward being able to produce and deliver such weapons, Arms Control Today reported in its December issue.

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