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North Korea: U.S. To Offer New Plan For Disarming Pyongyang

Washington, 24 June 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The White House says the United States will submit a new plan for North Korea to gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that in return North Korea would face an easing of political and economic isolation.

McClellan said what the United States will be presenting is a practical series of steps to achieve what he called "the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program."

He said that once North Korea agreed to the plan, it would receive oil and food aid and some assurances on the security side.
He said ending the dispute would "open the door to a new relationship" between the United States and North Korea.

The plan, he said, was based on a model in which Libya moved to rejoin the world community after agreeing in December to abandon its weapons of mass destruction programs.

Scheduled talks on North Korea opened yesterday in Beijing. They include diplomats from China, South and North Korea, Japan, Russia, and the United States.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is leading the U.S. delegation. Kelly did not provide details on the proposal but he said ending the dispute would "open the door to a new relationship" between the United States and North Korea.

"Our common goal is a Korean peninsula that is permanently free of nuclear weapons. This outcome will not only help ensure peace and security for all of the people of the peninsula and the region, but it will also open the door to a new relationship between my country and the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- North Korea) and for a new relationship between the DPRK and the international community as a whole."

“The New York Times” said today that U.S. negotiators would offer North Korea new but "highly conditional" incentives to give up its nuclear weapons program, including a provisional guarantee not to invade.

North Korea's chief delegate, Kim Kye-Gwan, said North Korea is prepared to give up its nuclear program if the U.S. ends what he called its "hostile policy.”

The United States has long demanded that North Korea fully dismantle its nuclear weapons program, as it agreed to during the 1990s. North Korea has insisted on economic aid in return for a weapons freeze.