News / Asia

Pyongyang Seeks Return to Talks, 2005 Nuclear Agreement

North Korea is repeating its call for an early resumption of six-party talks on its nuclear programs.

In its first public comments since nuclear talks ended in New York last week, North Korea also said Monday it is ready to implement a 2005 agreement calling for it to abandon its nuclear programs.

Pyongyang has been seeking for months to re-open the six-party talks, aimed at providing it economic and diplomatic benefits in exchange for giving up its nuclear weapons. But U.S. negotiator Stephen Bosworth said in New York that the United States is looking for evidence the North is ready to meet the commitment it made in 2005.

In comments quoted Monday by North Korea's official KCNA news agency, a spokesman said Pyongyang still seeks to resume the six-party talks at an early date and without preconditions. The spokesman said the North seeks to "comprehensively implement" the September 19, 2005, agreement on the principle of "simultaneous action."

In the September 19 statement, North Korea committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, and returning, at an early date, to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. The North also declared its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The other five parties to the talks - the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia - promised to provide the North with energy and other forms of economic assistance.

The agreement broke down amid mutual accusations of bad faith and evidence that North Korea was pursuing a secret uranium enrichment program. Pyongyang pulled out of the talks in 2009.

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