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North korea's nuclear facility at Yongbyon (file photo) (epa)
July 13, 2007 -- Washington's chief envoy on the North Korea nuclear talks said today that the United States is open to discussion with North Korea on peace and security issues after Pyongyang urged military talks between the two countries.
Speaking in Japan, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill declined to comment directly on North Korea's proposal for direct military talks, but reaffirmed U.S. commitment to resolve "broader issues and peace and security issues as well" on the Korean Peninsula.
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted a military statement as saying Pyongyang proposes that the meeting be attended by a UN representative.
KCNA also quoted the military as saying a recent deal to shut down its nuclear program could be scrapped if the United States keeps "pressurizing [North Korea] under the pretext of the nuclear issue."
The statement says if such pressure continues, then "neither the implementation of the February 13 agreement nor success of the six-party talks will be possible."
The statement comes a day after China's Foreign Ministry said that six-nation talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program are scheduled to resume in Beijing on July 18.
North Korea recently agreed to shut down its sole nuclear reactor in exchange for energy aid and political concessions.
A team of inspectors from the UN nuclear agency is due to return to North Korea on July 14 to monitor the shutdown of the reactor.
(AP, AFP, Reuters)