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DPRK clarifies nuclear talks stand
( 2003-08-14 08:48) (China Daily)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea Wednesday clarified its stand on the coming six-party talks aimed at settling the nuclear issue.

The issues to which Pyongyang referred included the proposed softening of Washington's "hostile'' policy towards the DPRK, the conclusion of a non-aggression treaty with the United States, and Pyongyang's refusal to allow inspections of its nuclear programme before the United States reverses its "hostile'' policy towards Pyongyang.

The DPRK wants to conclude a non-aggression treaty with the United States that would "strictly and legally'' guarantee that neither of the two sides would attack the other, said a foreign ministry spokesman in Pyongyang.

"Steps to solve the nuclear issue must be taken strictly on the principle of simultaneous action by both sides,'' the spokesman added.

Washington must soften its hostile policy towards the DPRK as "a precondition for the solution of the nuclear issue,'' the spokesman stressed.

"It will be considered that the United States has practically given up its hostile policy towards the DPRK when a legally binding non-aggression treaty is concluded, diplomatic relations are established between the DPRK and the United States, and it is made clear that the United States will not obstruct economic co-operation between the DPRK and other countries,'' said the spokesman.

He warned: "As long as the United States insists on its hostile policy towards the DPRK, the latter will not abandon its nuclear deterrent force.''

The spokesman also indicated that inspections were "impossible and unthinkable'' before the United States abandons its "hostile policy'' towards the DPRK.

"The call for an 'earlier inspection' of the DPRK's nuclear facilities is an outrageous interference in the DPRK's internal affairs and an infringement of its sovereignty,'' he said.

In another development, Moscow has proposed a multilateral security pact with the DPRK to end a stand-off over Pyongyang's nuclear programme, Interfax news agency said yesterday as Russia began talks with the DPRK and the Republic of Korea.

An unidentified Russian Foreign Ministry official said: "This document could be four-sided -- the United States, North Korea, Russia and China -- or six-sided with the inclusion of Japan and South Korea.''

The separate bilateral meetings between officials from Russia, the DPRK and the Republic of Korea in Moscow are to prepare for six-party talks in Beijing, due to start on August 27.

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