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North Korea wants urgent atom talks - UN
Updated: 2004-11-25 10:05

North Korea wants to restart six-party talks on its nuclear programs urgently but still wants certain conditions met, a top U.N. official told South Korea's Yonhap news agency on Thursday.

It quoted Jean Ping, president of the U.N. General Assembly, as saying North Korea still agreed with the format of the talks and that North Korean officials told him during a visit that Pyongyang was committed to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

"North Korea not only agreed to the format of the talks but also believes that the talks should restart urgently," Ping was quoted as saying.

"The only way to restart the talks is to give up the confrontational positions and to create a climate," Ping was quoted as saying when asked about the prospect of restarting the talks. Ping is Gabon's foreign minister.

North and South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia and China have met for three inconclusive rounds of the talks but a fourth round set for September did not materialize.

North Korea has demanded the withdrawal of what it calls a U.S. "hostile policy" before it will return to dialogue.

It was not immediately clear whether the message Ping received went beyond North Korea's previously stated readiness to return to talks if the conditions were right. North Korea analysts have said Pyongyang seemed to be edging back to the table now President Bush has been re-elected.

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