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Six-nation talks on N. Korea nuclear program set for Dec. 6-8

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MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has agreed to participate in six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, due in Beijing on December 6-8, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

The six-nation talks involve envoys from the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea, and are focused on the communist state's eventual denuclearization.

"A proposal was made, and we accepted," Alexander Losyukov said, adding that the negotiators would assess Pyongyang's progress in decommissioning its nuclear installations and holding negotiations on the level of foreign ministers.

In a joint statement published on October 3 following the sixth round of negotiations, North Korea agreed to decommission its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon, including a 5 MW nuclear reactor, a radiochemical lab and a nuclear fuel processing plant, by December 31.

North Korea, which tested a nuclear bomb in October 2006, closed down its main nuclear reactor in July under a February six-party deal.

In return for its cooperation, North Korea is to receive aid equivalent to one million tons of heavy fuel oil, and the U.S. has promised it will take steps to remove the country from its blacklist of countries suspected of aiding terrorism.

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