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Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

U.S. pressures N. Korea to end program

October 20, 2002

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— A U.S. envoy on Saturday urged North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, warning there will be no easy way out for the recalcitrant communist regime.

Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, speaking after meetings with Chinese and South Korean officials, said Washington would lead a global campaign to bring "maximum international pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambition."

South Korean Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun was visiting Pyongyang, where he said he would urge North Korea to realize the international furor over its clandestine nuclear program.

"It is of paramount importance (for the North) to wisely resolve the concern recently raised," Jeong said in a speech during a dinner given by North Korean Prime Minister Hong Song Nam, according to media pool reports from Pyongyang.

Official talks begin today.

Both Koreas had agreed earlier to use the latest round of Cabinet-level talks to promote reconciliation on the divided Korean peninsula. Now Jeong says his most urgent task will be to gauge whether the North wants dialogue or confrontation.

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