Friday, September 18, 2009


North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has said he is willing to engage in talks on his country's controversial nuclear programme, Chinese state media said.
Mr Kim made the offer to the visiting envoy of Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Xinhua news agency said.
China has been pressing North Korea to return to international talks aimed at the nuclear disarmament of the North.
The North pulled out of multilateral talks after international condemnation of a missile launch in April.
Kim Jong-il told the envoy, Dai Bingguo, that "North Korea will continue adhering towards the goal of denuclearisation... and is willing to resolve the relevant problems through bilateral and multilateral talks," Xinhua said.
The statement follows one from Washington last week that the US was prepared to talk directly with North Korea in order to resume stalled negotiations that also take in China, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Oct 2006 - North Korea conducts an underground nuclear test
Feb 2007 - North Korea agrees to close its main nuclear reactor in exchange for fuel aid
June 2007 - North Korea shuts its main Yongbyon reactor
June 2008 - North Korea makes its long-awaited declaration of nuclear assets
Oct 2008 - The US removes North Korea from its list of countries which sponsor terrorism
Dec 2008 - Pyongyang slows work to dismantle its nuclear programme after a US decision to suspend energy aid
Jan 2009 - The North says it is scrapping all military and political deals with the South, accusing it of "hostile intent"
April 2009 - Pyongyang launches a rocket carrying what it says is a communications satellite
25 May 2009 - North Korea conducts a second nuclear test

The US has previously said it will not tolerate a nuclear North Korea.
Mr Dai has been accompanied on his trip to Pyongyang by Beijing's chief envoy to the six-party talks.
On Wednesday, they met North Korea's lead man on nuclear negotiations, Kang Sok-ju.
North Korea pulled out of the six-party talks in April after criticism of the long-range rocket launch.
In May, the North said it had staged a second "successful" underground nuclear test, saying it was more powerful than a test carried out in October 2006.
Mr Kim's statement is the latest in a series of conciliatory gestures that some analysts say is designed to relieve pressure on North Korea since the UN passed fresh sanctions in response to the nuclear test.
But the positive noises have been mixed with more threats, including a statement earlier in September that North Korea was in the final stages of enriching uranium and was continuing to reprocess and weaponise plutonium.
The North says that it remains under military threat from its historic rival, South Korea, and South Korea's allies, primarily the US.
But North Korea is believed to have enough plutonium for at least six nuclear bombs.



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