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U.S. Says Normalization With North Korea Possible

13 September 2005 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says North Korea can expect normalization of ties with the United States, and possibly Japan, if it gives up its nuclear-weapons program.

In an interview with "The New York Times" on 12 September, Rice said that normalization of U.S.-North Korea ties could be expected if Pyongyang made a "strategic choice" to disband its nuclear-weapons program.

She said relations between Japan and North Korea could also be normalized if the two countries resolved the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s.

Rice's statement comes ahead of the resumption today of six-way talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear-weapons drive. The talks include North and South Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia, and China.

They have been going on for more than two years without any breakthrough.