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N.Korea, US to discuss six-way talks in Dec
Updated: 2004-11-26 14:20

A North Korean official will visit the United States next month for talks with U.S. counterparts on resuming six-party talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear program, a Japanese newspaper reported on Friday.

Quoting sources "knowledgeable with U.S.-North Korean ties," the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) said the informal negotiations in the United States would take place in mid-December.

Three inconclusive rounds of six-way talks have been held so far. The parties, which also include South Korea, Japan, Russia and China, had been set to meet again in September, but the meeting did not take place.

The Nikkei, quoting South Korea's KBS television, also said representatives of the six countries were set to hold an "informal" meeting in Beijing sometime between Dec. 15-23.

The paper added that a Chinese official was currently in Pyongyang for talks with the North Korean side.

A US State Department official said it had no comment on the Nikkei report.

Separately, the Asahi Shimbun daily reported the details of a U.S. proposal made to North Korea two years ago at the outset of the current crisis over Pyongyang's nuclear program, which included a promise by Washington to set up diplomatic ties in return for the North abandoning the project.

Quoting U.S. officials, the Asahi said the "bold approach" presented to the North Korean side in October 2002 also included offers to sign a peace treaty, to build thermal electricity plants, and to remove the communist state from Washington's list of terrorist countries.

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