N Korea: Conditional return to talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has told a visiting Chinese envoy that his country will return to six-party nuclear talks if the conditions are right and the US shows sincerity.

    Kim Jong-il (R) says the US wants to overthrow his government

    The official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday that Kim told Wang Jiarui, head of the Chinese Communist Party's international liaison department, that the North had never opposed the talks and is committed to the de-nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

    "We will go to the negotiating table anytime if there are mature

    conditions for the six-party talks thanks to the
    concerted efforts of the parties concerned in the future," KCNA quoted Kim as saying.

    He expressed hope that the US would show "trustworthy sincerity and move", KCNA said.

    Nuclear weapons

    Pyongyang explicitly declared for the first time on 10 February

    that it possessed nuclear weapons and pulled out of the six-party talks, attended by the two Koreas, China, Russia, the US and Japan.

    Rice has called North Korea one
    of 'the outposts of tyranny'

    The six parties had previously met for three rounds of talks aimed at ending

    Pyongyang's nuclear programme

    in return for aid and security

    guarantees, but a planned fourth round never materialised.

    North Korea has said recent statements by US President George

    Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice labelling it

    as one of "the outposts of tyranny" proved Washington's

    hostility and its designs to overthrow its government.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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