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U.S. Says North Korea Should Return To Nuclear Talks

U.S. envoy Christopher Hill (file photo) (epa) April 10, 2006 -- The United States' chief envoy to North Korean nuclear arms talks, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, says Pyongyang should return to six-party talks without preconditions.

Hill made the statement upon arriving in Tokyo, where delegates from North Korea and five other countries are meeting for a regional security conference.

"[North Korea] ought to come back to the six-party talks without any conditions, that is true," he said. "And I think the six-party talks are in their interest, that is the reason we have the six-party talks, is that all six countries have something to benefit from these talks."

Hill also told reporters that he has no plans to meet North Korea's envoy. Speculation had been growing that Hill and Kim Kye Gwan would meet on the sidelines of the conference.

Formal talks on North Korea's nuclear program have been stalled since November, when Pyongyang broke off negotiations in response to the imposition of financial sanctions by the United States. Washington accused it of counterfeiting U.S. currency and money laundering.

(AFP, AP, Reuters)