N. Korean open to nuke dialogue


  • AseanPlus News
  • Sunday, 13 Apr 2003

SEOUL: North Korea said yesterday it would accept any form of dialogue with the United States over its suspected nuclear programme should Washington abandon its hostile policy toward the communist state. 

Pyongyang has previously said it is holding out for one-on-one talks with Washington to resolve the dispute over its nuclear ambitions. 

Washington has rejected Pyongyang's demand, insisting a bilateral negotiating track would amount to a reward for “bad behaviour” by North Korea. 

“If the US is ready to make a bold switchover in its Korea policy for a settlement of the nuclear issue, the DPRK (North Korea) will not stick to any particular dialogue format,” a spokesman of the North's foreign ministry said. 

“The solution to the issue depends on what is the real intention of the US,” he said.  

The spokesman said Pyongyang's long-standing call for one-on-one was intended to confirm whether the United States had the political willingness to drop its hostile policy towards North Korea. 

“It is possible to solve the issue if the US sincerely approaches the dialogue,” he said. 

North Korea has also demanded a non-aggression treaty from Washington to guarantee that the United States will not attack. It has accused the United States of seeking to attack it after the US-led war in Iraq. 

 

The statement coincided with a warning by the South Korean president that the nuclear confrontation must be resolved peacefully to avoid an armed conflict, which he said would have “disastrous” consequences not only for both Koreas, but also the world. 

 

“The North Korean nuclear issue is now looming larger than ever before. North Korea's nuclear development must not be condoned,” President Roh Moo-Hyun told a group of foreign dignitaries here. 

“Should a war break out again, its disastrous consequences would not be confined to the Korean peninsula,” he said. 

 

The president said he was due to meet US President George W. Bush in Washington next month to discuss ways of resolving the nuclear issue peacefully. – AFP  

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