N. Korea tells China nuclear disarmament talks can resume if ”conditions are right”

Published February 22nd, 2005 - 08:52 GMT

North Korean leader Kim Jong-II has assured China his country will return to disarmament talks over its nuclear weapons programs "at any time" if the conditions are right, state media reported.

In his first comments since the North pulled out of the talks indefinitely and announced it had nuclear weapons on February 10, Kim told Chinese envoy Wang Jiarui he remained committed to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

"If the conditions for the fourth round of six-party talks are met, the DPRK (North Korea) will return to the negotiating table at any time," Kim was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency, without specifying what the conditions were.

Kim insisted that North Korea did not oppose the talks and had not withdrawn from them, and called on the United States to "show trustworthy sincerity."

"The DPRK's stance on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and peaceful settlement of the issue through dialogue remain unchanged," he said.

Wang arrived back in Beijing after delivering a verbal message to the reclusive Kim from President Hu Jintao during a meeting Monday.

Hu told his counterpart "it is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese and DPRK sides to maintain the stand of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," the Korean Central News Agency reported.

The Chinese president said it was crucial to protect "peace and stability, settle the nuclear issue and clear the Korean side of its reasonable concerns through the six-party talks".


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