07/24/2008, 00.00
NORTH KOREA
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For Rice talks with Pyongyang on nuclear issue “positive”

In her first meeting with North Korea’s foreign minister US secretary of state reiterates the need for verification of the atomic disarmament process.
Singapore (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea has pledged to fulfil its commitments on scrapping its nuclear programme calling on others to respect the commitments made in the six-nation talks (with US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea). For her part US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tells Pyongyang to complete the preliminary phase in its atomic disarmament, stressing that the process must be verified.

The first meeting between Ms Rice and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun took place in Singapore on the sidelines of a South-East Asian forum.

Ms Rice said the talks were a "good meeting, [with] no surprises".

"Everyone essentially confirmed [previous agreements] and the need to move rapidly to finish phase two obligations," she said, adding that she believed Pyongyang was under no ‘illusions’ that it had to agree to a strong mechanism to verify its nuclear activities.

The North Korean foreign minister “expressed the willingness of the DPRK [North Korea] government to fully implement [its commitments], closely following the implementation of the other parties on the principle of action for action,” said his spokesman Ri Tong-Il.

Pak Ui-chun also called on Washington to drop its “hostile policy”.

 

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