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Paper: US, Japan, S.Korea to talk on N.Korea on Aug 13
( 2003-08-08 10:24) (Agencies)

Diplomats from the United States, Japan and South Korea will meet in Washington on August 13 and 14 to coordinate policy on North Korea ahead of six-nation talks on the communist state's nuclear weapons program, a Japanese newspaper said Friday.

The conservative Sankei Shimbun, quoting Japanese government sources, said senior diplomats from the three countries would hold an "informal" meeting to discuss a joint proposal they plan to present to North Korea.

The paper said the three nations had originally planned to conduct the meeting during the week starting on August 18, but decided to bring it forward as the six-nation talks may be held by the end of the month.

North Korea said this week that the six-nation meeting would be held in Beijing "soon" but none of the participants, which also include China and Russia, has given a specific date.

Thursday, another Japanese daily said North Korea wanted to hold the six-country talks in the first week of September while China, the host, wants to start them on August 21 or 25.

The Yomiuri Shimbun, reporting from Washington and quoting "related sources," said the United States also favored having the negotiations in August as the annual meeting of the United Nation's General Assembly would be held in September.

The current crisis over North Korea's nuclear program began last October following Washington's announcement that Pyongyang was pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program.

The six-way talks, if held, would come after months of confrontation between Pyongyang, which had insisted on bilateral talks with the United States, and Washington, which had demanded that neighboring states take part in any talks.

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