11/02/2005, 00.00
NORTH KOREA SOUTH KOREA
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Pyongyang nuclear six-party talks set for next week in Beijing

The attendance of the North Korean delegation was confirmed during Hu Jintao's visit to North Korea. A groundbreaking agreement has been reached about the joint participation of the two Koreas as one team in the upcoming round of 2006 Asian Games and the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The next round of six-party (the two Koreas, Russia, China, the USA and Japan) talks about North Korea's nuclear ambitions should be held "around 9 November". The proposal, mooted by China, was confirmed by Seoul's Unification Minister, Chung Dong-young.

It seems that the date chosen will fall within 10 days of the visit to North Korea of the Chinese President Hu Jintao; Kim Jong Il assured Jintao of the presence of North Korea at the talks.

In the previous round of six-party talks, held in September, North Korea had at first appeared willing to give up its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid, security guarantees and diplomatic recognition. However it later added that it would not stop the program until the United States provided it with a light water reactor for civil use, a request Washington found unacceptable.

Meanwhile, a historic step ahead has been made in ties between the Koreas: the decision to form one team to represent them at the 2006 Asian Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Seoul and Pyongyang yesterday reached agreement to have just one team. The two Koreas have agreed to meet on 7 December in the North-Korean city of Kaesong, the one-time capital of a united Korea, to agree on details of the accord.

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