North Korea warms to Bush offer

North Korea has for the first time expressed willingness to consider the US offer of security guarantees in exchange for scrapping its nuclear programme.

    The US has been wary of North Korea's nuclear ambitions

    President George Bush had suggested earlier this week a written guarantee that Pyongyang would not be attacked if it gave up its atomic weapons programme.

    "We are ready to consider Bush's remarks on the written assurances of non-aggression if they are based on the intention to co-exist with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and aimed to play a positive role in realising the proposal for a package solution on the principle of simultaneous actions," a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said.

    "Simple and clear is our request," the spokesman said.

    Softening stand

    The latest comments circulated by the  official news agency KCNA signify a clear softening of North Korea's stand.

    "We are ready to consider Bush's remarks on the written assurances of non-aggression if they are based on the intention to co-exist with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea"

    North Korean spokesman

    Earlier, the North had insisted on a non-aggression treaty as an essential pre-condition.

    "What we want is for both sides to drop guns and establish normal state relationship to co-exist peacefully. The unilateral demand that one of the two belligerent parties forces the other party to drop guns and come out first with its hands up can never be met," the spokesman said.

    He further said that North Korea had been in touch with the US through its diplomats at the United Nations.

    The offer made by Bush during this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok for a security guarantee to the North, opened up opportunities for resolving the nuclear stand-off in the Korean peninsula.

    Accused of developing nuclear weapons, the communist North has always maintained it has the right to arm itself against external aggression.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.