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Pyongyang: Talks possible if US promises coexistence
Updated: 2005-02-20 09:54

A senior Chinese Communist Party official held talks with leading North Korea officials on Saturday, amid China's increasing mediating efforts to engage Pyongyang to the 6-party nuclear talks.

North Korean top leader Kim Jong-il (centre) meets with Mira Koltsova, head of the Russian state academy Beriozka dancing troupe, in Pyongyang February 17, 2005. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has made his first appearance before the general public in two months. [Reuters]

North Korea, which declared to the world it had nuclear bombs, stressed that conditions were not right to resume six-party negotiations involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.

It said that so long as the United States agrees not to militarily invade it and do not meddle its internal affairs, North Korean government will immediately resume the talks.

Deputy North Korean Ambassador Han Song-ryol told the South Korean JoongAng Ilbo newspaper that the North wanted a U.S. assurance that there would be substantive results from negotiations.

"If the United States withdraws its hostile policy, we will drop our anti-U.S. policy and become allies, and why would we then need nuclear weapons?" Han said.

Wang Jiarui, head of the Chinese Communist Party's international liaison department, held talks in Pyongyang with Kim Yong-nam, president of Communist North Korea's Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Xinhua news agency said.

"The two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations and inter-party contacts, as well as regional and global issues of common concern," Xinhua said.

Before leaving for North Korea, Wang said the fate of the stalled talks would be up for discussion.

China said this week it was committed to the six-party process and that putting pressure on Pyongyang was not a solution. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan has urged the two major parties in the dispute, Washington and Pyongyang, to show their respective “sincerity and flexibility”, in order to make the 6-party Beijing talks moving, and attain tangible results.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said he did not expect a quick return to the talks, considering the current impasse and intransigency of the two major talk parties.

"It is unlikely the six-party talks will be resumed in the near future," he told state television. "But all parties concerned, including China, are conducting consultations with each other positively."

North Korea, described by Bush as part of an "axis of evil" along with Iran and Iraq, said for the first time last week it had nuclear weapons, arguing it needed them to deter a hostile United States.

"Because the United States insists on its hostile policy toward the DPRK (North Korea) and refused to co-exist with the DPRK ... the DPRK has no justification to conduct talks on the nuclear issue of the Korean peninsula with the United States now," a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Saturday.

He reiterated North Korea's suspension of involvement in the six-party talks "for an indefinite period" but said its policy of solving the nuclear issue through dialogue remained unchanged.