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US Envoy Arrives in Seoul for Talks
A top US envoy arrived in Seoul yesterday for talks on the rapidly escalating nuclear crisis as Pyongyang unleashed a new stream of invective after threatening to restart missile tests.

Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly flew in ahead of talks today with president-elect Roh Moo-hyun and Foreign Minister Choi Sung-hong.

Roh, who succeeds Kim Dae-jung on February 25, has been playing a lead role in Republic of Korea (ROK) efforts to mediate an end to the stand-off, but Pyongyang has so far snubbed all moves to reduce tensions.

Kelly last week hosted trilateral talks on the crisis in Washington with ROK and Japan.

Moscow 'package plan'

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said yesterday that Russia is working out a "package settlement plan" for DPRK's nuclear issue.

Russian diplomats are contacting the governments of all the countries concerned to consider details of the plan, he said, adding that "the general outline of that plan is already clear now."

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov came up with a proposal for that plan on Saturday as he held telephone conversations with foreign ministers of France, China, the ROK, and the US Secretary of State, Yakovenko said.

Its cornerstone proposition is to ensure the nuclear-free status of the Korean Peninsula and to oblige all the sides involved to abide by the terms of all previous international agreements, including the 1994 Framework Agreement.

The second key aspect of the plan is "constructive multilateral discussions among all the countries concerned on security guarantees to the DPRK."

The third is that all the humanitarian and economic programs that have been in effect on the Korean peninsula until recently should be resumed.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who ended his four-day official visit to Russia after making a stopover in Khabarovsk, said Japan is willing to make joint efforts with Russia to tap a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis.

(China Daily January 13, 2003)

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