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G8 calls on N.Korea to abandon nuclear program

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The G8 leaders welcomed Tuesday North Korea's move in late June to submit information on its nuclear program and called on the country to give up its nuclear ambitions.
TOYAKO (Hokkaido), July 8 (RIA Novosti) - The G8 leaders welcomed Tuesday North Korea's move in late June to submit information on its nuclear program and called on the country to give up its nuclear ambitions.

"Noting the progress made through the Six-Party process since last year, we welcome, though long overdue, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s provision of a declaration as a step toward the full implementation of the Joint Statement," the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations said.

"Comprehensive verification of the declaration is of utmost importance, and we look forward to an early agreement on the principles/regime of the verification. We urge the DPRK to fully cooperate in the verification process, including its effective implementation," the statement said.

"We also emphasize the importance of swift disablement of all existing nuclear facilities and the abandonment of all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs by the DPRK," the G8 leaders said in their statement.

North Korea tested a nuclear weapon in October 2006.

The six-party negotiations, which include Russia, the United States, China, Japan and the two Koreas, stalled late last year when Pyongyang missed a deadline to hand over nuclear data as part of a deal under which the North was promised economic aid and diplomatic incentives.

North Korea eventually handed over detailed data on its nuclear activities on June 26. A day later it demolished the cooling tower at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, about 100 km (62 miles) north of Pyongyang, in a move perceived as showing the communist regime's willingness to terminate its nuclear program. The disabling of facilities at the plant is being monitored by U.S. specialists.

Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator said Tuesday talks with North Korea on its nuclear program are set to restart Thursday in Beijing. "The top envoys' meeting will begin in the afternoon of July 10," Kim Sook said.

According to the South Korean news agency, Yonhap, the six-nation consultations in the Chinese capital will focus on an appraisal of the data handed over by North Korea and how to verify it, and will also set a date for a meeting of the foreign ministers from the six nations.

After the North submitted its nuclear declaration, the United States announced it would lift unilateral trade sanctions against the country and remove it from a terrorism blacklist.

However, U.S. President George Bush said Washington continues to be concerned over North Korea's uranium enrichment activities and suspected sales of nuclear technology to other countries.

According to various estimates, Pyongyang has secretly produced about 35-50 kg of weapons-grade plutonium.

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