Ready to return to N-talks,signals North Korea

Ready to return to N-talks,signals North Korea

North Korea on Tuesday signaled it could return to nuclear disarmament talks it had declared dead six months ago,but a report it was near...

North Korea on Tuesday signaled it could return to nuclear disarmament talks it had declared dead six months ago,but a report it was near restoring its atomic plant underlined the secretive state would keep the stakes high.

Leader Kim Jong-il told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on a rare visit to Pyongyang that he first wanted talks with the US. The North sees such talks as key to ending its status as a global pariah that it argues gives it no choice but to have a nuclear arsenal.

“The hostile relations between the DPRK (North Korea) and the United States should be converted into peaceful ties through the bilateral talks without fail,” the North’s KCNA news agency quoted Kim as saying.

“We expressed our readiness to hold multilateral talks,depending on the outcome of the DPRK-US talks. The six-party talks are also included in the multilateral talks.”


In April,a month before its second nuclear test,North Korea said the six-party talks — between the two Koreas,China,Japan,Russia and the US — were finished for good. It walked away from those talks last December. This is the first time it has suggested it was might return to what has been the only international forum to try to make the North give up dreams of becoming a nuclear warrior in return for massive aid to fix an economy broken by years of mismanagement.

One analyst said it boiled down to impoverished North Korea hoping to convince Washington to end its economic squeeze and the US wanting to be certain that Pyongyang will not sell any nuclear weaponry abroad.

“North Korea wants sanctions removed … What the US wants is some assurance about proliferation because the US doesn’t really care about restoration of an obsolete nuclear plant or how much nuclear material the North has got,” said Cho Min of the Korea Institute of National Unification. He said the focus was now on whether Washington sends an official,possibly special envoy Stephen Bosworth,to the North. The US government has said it is open to direct talks with the North to coax it back to nuclear talks. Reuters

‘Iran planning new centrifuges for second enrichment site’

TEHRAN: An Iranian newspaper has reported that the country plans to install a more advanced type of centrifuge in its newly revealed uranium enrichment site. Tuesday’s Kayhan daily quoted the head of Iran’s nuclear agency,Ali Akbar Salehi,as saying the country has carried out research and development for a new generation of centrifuge to be made domestically. The machines would be more advanced than the decades old P-1 type centrifuges acquired on the black market and in use at Iran’s other enrichment facility in Natanz.

Iran’s enrichment of uranium is the central concern of the US and other nations negotiating with the country over its nuclear work. The technology can be used to make fuel for power plants and nuclear weapons. AP