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North Korea, U.S. Committed To Six-Party Talks

26 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- North Korea's envoy to six-party talks over its controversial nuclear programs today spoke of the need for "real progress" in making the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan said at the start of the talks in Beijing that his country is "fully ready and prepared" for that goal "as long as all the parties demonstrate wisdom and the spirit of cooperation."

U.S. representative Christopher Hill said the United States is committed to the talks and has no desire to attack North Korea.

"We view the sovereignty of the D.P.R.K [Democratic People's Republic of Korea], as a matter of fact," Hill said. "The United States has absolutely no intention to invade or attack the D.P.R.K. and we remain prepared to speak with the D.P.R.K. bilaterally in the context of these talks."

Today's negotiations are the fourth in a series of talks that involve North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. Three previous rounds have produced no major progress in resolving the crisis that started in October 2002 when U.S. officials accused North Korea of pursuing a secret nuclear-weapons program.

Since then, North Korea has expelled International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, withdrawn from the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is now claiming to have nuclear arms.