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Roh Urges DPRK Back to Six-party Talks

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on Monday urged Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to make a "strategic decision" to accept a security guarantee and hefty economic assistance in return for abandoning its nuclear program.

"Now is the time for North Korea (DPRK) to make a decision," Roh said in a speech to an international symposium at the Shilla Hotel in central Seoul to mark the fifth anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit in June 2000 between then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Il.

"North Korea should lay the groundwork for regime stabilization and economic development," he said. "We will actively support such an effort by North Korea in cooperation with the international community and we are preparing a comprehensive, concrete and active measure for that," Roh was quoted as saying by South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

"If North Korea returns to the six-party talks, I think we will be able to have a more flexible and progressive dialogue," Roh said.

Roh's remarks followed his summit talks with US President George W. Bush on last Saturday in Washington when they reaffirmed their pledge to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula peacefully through the six-party talks.

The talks aiming to end the nuclear issue peacefully had brought China, the DPRK, the United States, Russia, South Korea and Japan together three times in Beijing.

But the multilateral talks have been stalled since last September as the DPRK accused the United States of adopting a hostile policy towards Pyongyang.

(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2005)

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