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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N.Korea wants Japan's out of six-nation nuclear talks

RIA Novosti

30/11/2006 10:09 TOKYO, November 30 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator said Thursday there was no need for Japan to take part in the six-party talks on the North's nuclear program.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan held a series of informal meetings in Beijing as part of diplomatic efforts to revitalize the stalled talks, involving North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan, China and the United States.

"Japan's participation in the six-way talks is completely ungrounded," Kyodo news agency quotes him as saying.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said Tokyo did not seek the resumption of the talks for the sake of talks, but was after specific results, when Pyongyang would give up its nuclear program.

The six-nation talks, were launched in 2003 to persuade North Korea to give up its controversial nuclear program after Pyongyang withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The talks stalled last November over Pyongyang's demand that the U.S. lift sanctions imposed on it for its alleged involvement in counterfeiting and other illegal activities.

North Korea announced it conducted its first nuclear test October 9, and threatened to take "physical measures" after the UN Security Council unanimously voted October 14 to impose sanctions on the reclusive Communist state.

Kim Kye-gwan who arrived in Beijing Tuesday at the invitation of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, head of Washington's delegation to the talks, said the country is ready to rejoin the talks.

Two-day informal talks in the Chinese capital have also involved the delegation heads of China, South Korea and Japan. But neither a date for the resumption of the talks, nor any other agreements have been reported following the meetings.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said the talks could restart in December.

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