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China: North Korea Says 'No More' Nuclear Tests Unless Provoked


China's foreign ministry has said North Korean Kim Jong Il told Beijing officials that he will not conduct another nuclear test unless mounting international pressure forces him to change his mind.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao also said Tuesday that recent news reports claiming Mr. Kim apologized to a visiting Chinese envoy for the international uproar over earlier tests are false.

Pyongyang conducted a nuclear weapons test October 9, and world leaders have been working strenuously to lure North Korea back to six-party disarmament talks.

North Korea's neighbors have been on high alert since the test.

Earlier Tuesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso rejected North Korea's long-standing demand that U.S. sanctions against Pyongyang must end if the communist state is to return to the six-party disarmament talks.

He reiterated the U.S. position that those talks are entirely separate from the United States' order last year freezing North Korean government bank accounts.

The six-party talks, which include North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, have been stalled since November.

North Korea said it will return to the negotiating table only if Washington unfreezes North Korean funds held in a bank in Macao.

American authorities say they froze the funds because North Korea produces and circulates counterfeit U.S. currency, and is engaged in money-laundering activities.

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