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Powell, DPRK FM Discuss Nuke Standoff

US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Foreign Minister of the Democratic People's Republic of Korean Paek Nam-sun discussed the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula during a 20-minute meeting in Jakarta Friday morning.  

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said "They discussed proposals that each side put forward at the last round of six-party talks."


The two men met for 20 minutes after breakfast on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific security meeting being held in the Indonesian capital.


"The secretary emphasized the administration's proposals to move forward on the dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear programs," Boucher said.


Powell told Paek there was an opportunity for "concrete progress" toward the goal of complete nuclear disarmament on the peninsular, according to Boucher.


They also discussed the proposals that each side put forth at the 3rd round six-party talks held last week in Beijing. "The discussion was useful to help clarify each side's proposal," he added.


Powell and Paek are in Jakarta to attend the 11th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and other ASEAN meetings.


Paek said that if the United States works to improve relations, the DPRK government "will not regard it as a permanent enemy," noting future relations hinge on a change in the current hostile policy of the United States.


Paek said that his country remains committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue, but "there is no trust between the DPRK and the US," according to a DPRK statement.


(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2004)

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