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N.Korea pushes for decision on format of peace talks with U.S.

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, January 12 (RIA Novosti) - Pyongyang has asked Washington to decide on the format of peace treaty talks, North Korea's ambassador to Russia, Kim Yong-Jae, said on Tuesday.

North Korea has been pushing for talks with the United States and other nations to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War. However, Washington has demanded Pyongyang resume six-party nuclear talks first.

"As for peace treaty talks, they can be held as six-party negotiations or separately," the North Korean diplomat said.

"It would be better if North Korea and the U.S. sat at the negotiating table to settle the issue," Kim Yong-Jae said.

He said six-party talks could be resumed "as early as tomorrow," if the United Nations Security Council drops its sanctions against Pyongyang.

The six-party talks, involving Russia, Japan, China, the United States, North and South Koreas came to a halt in April when Pyongyang pulled out of the negotiations in protest against the United Nations' condemnation of its missile tests.

The UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution imposing further sanctions on North Korea for its new missile tests and an underground nuclear test in early June 2009.

The North Korean diplomat said he was not sure South Korea would agree to hold peace talks.

Seoul, which refused to sign the armistice in 1953, has been skeptical about the proposal, fearing provocations on the part of the North.

"Our military should promote peace talks but we are always aware that North Korea can create provocations in any situation," Reuters quoted South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae-young as saying on Tuesday.

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