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    North Korea says ready to return to six-party nuclear talks

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    North Korea's leader has said his country is willing to return to the six-nation talks on ending its nuclear weapons program, the North's official news agency said.

    MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea's leader has said his country is willing to return to the six-nation talks on ending its nuclear weapons program, the North's official news agency said.

    The announcement came on Monday during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Pyongyang for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

    During the meeting, Kim "expressed our readiness to hold multilateral talks, depending on the outcome of the negotiations between the DPRK [the North's official name] and the United States," KCNA agency said in a statement translated by South Korea's Yonhap.

    North Korea abandoned the negotiations in April, in protest against the United Nations' condemnation of its nuclear bomb and missile tests.

    The North recently invited Stephen Bosworth, the U.S. special envoy to Pyongyang, to visit. Washington has said it will wait for the results of the Chinese premier's visit before deciding on whether to accept the invitation.

    Responding to the North Korean statement, U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the U.S. "remains willing to engage North Korea bilaterally within the framework of the Six Party process to convince North Korea to take the path of complete denuclearization."

    Kim also called for an improvement in relations with the U.S.

    "The hostile relations between the DPRK and the United States should be converted into peaceful ties through the bilateral talks without fail," KCNA quoted him as saying.

    The six-party talks involve the two Koreas, China, the U.S., Russia and Japan.

     

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