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US Rules Out Direct Talks with North Korea
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The United States reiterated on Wednesday that there is no possibility of having direct talks with North Korea.

"That's not in the cards ... because we have a multilateral approach to dealing with North Korea," deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said at a news briefing.

"The issue of North Korea's nuclear program is not a US-North Korea issue, it is an issue that concerns the entire region," Ereli said.

"An effective response or an effective way to deal with North Korea's nuclear program is not an exclusively bilateral approach, it's a multilateral approach which provides for, within it, bilateral engagement."

The spokesman defended a mechanism of the six-party talks over the settlement of nuclear issue on the Korean peninsular.

"I think the six-party process and the framework for addressing the North Korean problem is an effective one ... Because it establishes a common goal, it establishes a common approach. It provides a framework for achieving jointly held goals, jointly held objectives."
During the last round of the six-party talks in Beijing in September 2005, North Korea agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and energy aids.

However, North Korea has said it will not return to the talks if the United States does not lift the sanctions imposed on the country last year.

Ereli also rejected direct talks with North Korea over possible missile test. "If North Korea wants to talk to the United States about its missile-launch programs or its nuclear program or about security and stability on the peninsula in general, then we should do it through the six-party process and in that context."

(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2006)

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