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US Congressman Upbeat About Talks with North Korea

A top U.S. lawmaker says he has urged North Korea to return to the six-party talks over its nuclear weapons program.

Congressman Tom Lantos - a Democrat from the western U.S. state of California - spoke in Beijing Tuesday after three days of talks with high-ranking North Korean officials including the vice president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Yang Hyong-sop, and Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun.

Mr. Lantos says the officials told him they support a resumption of the talks, but want to see the shape of President Bush's second administration before making any commitments. However, Mr. Lantos says there is no reason for Pyongyang to expect a significant change in U.S. policy towards the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has participated in three rounds of multi-party talks on its nuclear ambitions, but boycotted a fourth round scheduled for September because of what it called Washington's hostile policy.