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Rice Doubts North Korean Pledge Against More Nuclear Tests


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has disputed media reports that say North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has pledged not to carry out further nuclear tests.

Rice made the comment to reporters on a flight to Moscow, where she met with top Russian officials Saturday.

Media reports from the region have said the North Korean leader spoke about the pledge to Chinese officials during a recent visit. He also was reported to have apologized for the October ninth nuclear test.

But Rice said she met Chinese officials in Beijing on Friday, and that there was no mention of Kim Jong Il's purported statements.

Meanwhile, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the United States and North Korea to show "flexibility" to resolve their differences. In an interview, Lavrov said the two nations need to resolve their financial problems to help renew stalled six-party talks on the nuclear issue.

In Beijing, Rice and her Chinese counterpart called on North Korea to return to the stalled talks. Pyongyang walked out of the multi-party negotiations more than a year ago.

Earlier, Rice visited South Korea and Japan to rally support for implementing U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea because of the October 9 nuclear test.

Some information in this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.