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UN Chief Welcomes US Proposal on DPRK Nuclear Issue

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed on Friday a proposal put forward by the United States to break the stalemate in talks on its dispute with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the DPRK's alleged nuclear program.  

The proposal calls for a step-by-step dismantling of the DPRK's nuclear weapons program in return for aid and security guarantees as well as the easing of the US economic sanctions against the country.


"I think the proposal put forward was a positive step. This also shows that the parties are determined to find a diplomatic way to resolve their differences and that at least they are beginning to exchange ideas and engage in dialogue seriously," Annan told a news conference.


His comments came as the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), China, Japan, Russia and the DPRK ended the third day of their current round of talks in Beijing without any breakthrough. The six parties held two previous rounds of negotiations in Beijing earlier, but no major progress was achieved.


Annan also expressed the hope that China could persuade the DPRK not to carry out its threat to test nuclear weapons.


"The Chinese are playing a very important role here, and I hope they will be able to dissuade the North Koreans, if they are not bluffing, not to go in that direction," he said.


According to ROK's Yonhap News Agency, DPRK chief delegate Kim Kye-gwan told US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly in a bilateral meeting Thursday that "there is a separate group of people and agency willing to conduct a nuclear test, to build nuclear weapons in North Korea."


The DPRK has repeatedly denied it was running a plutonium and uranium weapons program.


(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2004)

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