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World reacts to DPRK's to return to talks

Updated: 2006-11-02 11:39
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The international community on Wednesday responded to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s announcement that it will return to the six-party talks.

The newly designated United Nations secretary-general on Wednesday urged the DPRK to renounce nuclear weapons and said the United States and Japan should prepare for normalization of relations with Pyongyang if it did so.

Speaking to reporters following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the incoming UN chief, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon said the DPRK should renounce nuclear weapons and allow UN inspectors back.

The US and Japan must "prepare for the normalization of relations" with the DPRK in response to measures that Pyongyang should take to diminish fears over its nuclear program, said Ban.

The European Union welcomed the DPRK announcement and reiterated its support for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

The EU has consistently urged the DPRK to return to the six-party talks without delay and without predictions, Finland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a statement.

"The EU will continue to actively support efforts to resolve the security issue on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner," it said.

The US said on Wednesday that the DPRK will have a chance to seek access to its frozen overseas bank accounts when six-party talks are resumed.

"We will seek to address the issue in the context of the six-party talks," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told a news briefing.

However, the spokesman noted that the best way to deal with the issue is to get at the root causes, which he said were Pyongyang's "illicit behavior."

US President George W. Bush on Tuesday hailed the DPRK's planned return to the six-party talks on its nuclear program.

"I am pleased and I want to thank the Chinese," Bush told reporters at the White House after meeting with Andrew Natsios, his special envoy on Sudan.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that his country would continue its own sanctions on the DPRK even after the six-party talks resume.

Abe appreciated the DPRK for its decision to return to the negotiation table, but insisted that Japan would not stop its unilateral sanctions until the issues such as missile launches, nuclear tests and abduction of Japanese nationals were resolved.

The Singaporean government hailed on Wednesday the DPRK's announcement of the resumption of the six-party talks on the nuclear program on the Korean Peninsula.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it is a welcome and encouraging development and that Singapore hopes the DPRK and the other parties will work out a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue.

At the invitation of China, the heads of delegations to the talks from China, the DPRK and the United States had an informal meeting in Beijing Tuesday and agreed to resume the six-party talks soon at a time convenient to the six parties.

Three weeks after its nuclear tests, the DPRK said on Wednesday that it was returning to six-party talks.

"The DPRK decided to return to the six-party talks on the premise that the issue of lifting financial sanctions will be discussed and settled between the DPRK and the US within the framework of the six-party talks," said a spokesman of the DPRK Foreign Ministry

DPRK had refused to return to six-party talks since last October due to the US-imposed financial sanctions against it, and claimed that it would not return to talks unless the US lifts financial sanctions imposed on a Macao-based bank and DPRK companies, for alleged counterfeiting and other illegal activities.