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North Korea Refuses to Dismantle Nukes Before Talks

North Korea says it will not dismantle its nuclear program before any new talks aimed at eliminating its access to nuclear weapons.

The commentary in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper also says Pyongyang has neither opposed nor shunned the six-party talks on its nuclear ambitions.

The newspaper comments come amid renewed speculation that a new round of negotiations could begin within the next few weeks.

Three rounds of talks have been held in Beijing, but a fourth session scheduled for June, 2004 failed to take place because North Korea boycotted the process over what it called a hostile U.S. attitude. But earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il said the talks could resume as early as July.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.