- Title: VARIOUS: North Korea agrees to return to six party talks on its nuclear programme
- Date: 1st November 2006
- Summary: (EU) NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (OCTOBER 31, 2006) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF BUILDING WHICH HOUSES THE NORTH KOREAN MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAK GIL YON, NORTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SAYING: "My position is that. NCND (Neither Confirm Nor Deny)." AMBASSADOR PAK GIL YON ENTERING THE BUILDING
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- Story Text: North Korea agreed on Tuesday (October 31) to return to six-party talks on dismantling its atomic weapons just weeks after staging its first nuclear test, drawing cautious welcome from President George W. Bush and Asian powers.
Envoys from North Korea, the United States and China met in Beijing and agreed to restart the stalled talks in the near future, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on its Web site, promising an end to a year-long hiatus in the negotiations.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told a news conference that he expected "substantial progress" from the next round of talks, possibly in November or December, after he met his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, in Beijing.
"They made it very clear that there were no conditions," said Hill.
The talks would address North Korea's concerns with the U.S. financial measures, possibly through a working group, he said, adding that Pyongyang needed to abandon "illicit activities" that Washington has said include currency counterfeiting
North Korea had made no explicit promises not to conduct any further nuclear tests, Hill said: "We are a long way from our goals still. I am very pleased, we are very pleased that the DPRK is committing to return to the talks."
"I made it very clear that the U.N. Security Council resolution stands," he added.
U.S. President Bush welcomed North Korea's agreement to return to the nuclear talks, but added he would send teams to Asia to ensure U.N. Security Council sanctions on the budding nuclear power were enforced.
"We'll be sending teams to the region to work with our partners to make sure that the current United Nations Security Council resolution is enforced, but also to make sure that the talks are effective; that we achieve the results we want, which is a North Korea that abandons her nuclear weapons programs and her nuclear weapons in a verifiable fashion in return for a better way forward for her people," Bush told reporters in Washington.
In New York, the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Pak Gil Yon spoke very briefly and refused to confirm or deny that the talks were to resume.
The other three countries involved in the talks are South Korea, Japan and Russia. A fifth round of talks in Beijing broke off last November without progress and North Korea later protested over a U.S. crackdown on its international finances.
After North Korea carried out its nuclear test on Oct. 9, the U.N. Security Council voted to impose financial and arms sanctions on Pyongyang.
"The financial sanctions are effective unless the Security Council adopts a separate decision, whether before or after the talks," South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Chun Yung-woo told reporters in Seoul.
The next six-party talks would address North Korea's concerns with the U.S. financial restrictions, possibly through a working group, he said, adding that Pyongyang needs to abandon "illicit activities" that the U.S. has said include drug trafficking as well as currency counterfeiting.
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- Embargoed:16th November 2006 12:00