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Multilateral Talks on North Korea Nuclear Weapons to Start August 27 - 2003-08-12

Media reports said a date has been set for six-nation talks about the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis. Japan's Kyodo news agency and AFP, the French news agency, report that six-party Korea talks will start August 27. They quote unnamed Russian officials as saying the talks in Beijing will last three days.

Also on Tuesday, Reuters news agency reported that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said in Australia the talks would begin August 27.

Last month, North Korea agreed to talks with China, South Korea, Russia, the United States, and Japan to try to resolve the dispute over its nuclear weapons programs.

North Korea pulled out of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty earlier this year. It admits to having a nuclear weapons program, in violation of several international accords.

Pyongyang has maintained the nuclear issue is strictly between it and the United States, and is demanding security concessions and economic aid.

Washington is holding a meeting with senior diplomats from Japan and South Korea this week to prepare for the talks.