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Trilateral Talks on North Korean Nuke Crisis End - 2003-06-14


The United States, South Korea and Japan have ended two days of talks in Hawaii with a pledge to try and peacefully resolve the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

During the two day meeting the United States, South Korea and Japan agreed it is essential to work together to resolve the standoff with North Korea.

Senior diplomats representing the three countries issued a joint statement at the end of the two-day closed-door meeting of the Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group. The talks are part of a regular series of meetings the three nations hold about four times each year.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State James Kelly, who headed the U.S. delegation, says the three sides are committed to a peaceful resolution of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The three countries urged North Korea to not inflame global tensions over the issue. Although they vowed not to tolerate Pyongyangs possession of nuclear weapons, the negotiators vowed to seek a diplomatic solution.

Earlier this week, North Korea revealed it has an active nuclear program that can be used to create weapons of mass destruction. It was the communist country's first public declaration of its nuclear ambitions.

During this week's meetings in Hawaii, diplomats also expressed concern over alleged drug smuggling and counterfeiting by North Korea. The North is alleged to be involved in smuggling missile parts to countries such as Iran.

Delegates to the talks discussed ways the United States, Japan and South Korea can help stop such activities by boosting cooperation with international organizations.

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