06/06/2005, 00.00
NORTH KOREA
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For Tokyo, Pyongyang is more receptive to international demands

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea is more receptive to international demands of going back to nuclear talks, this according to Hiroyuki Hosoda, a spokesperson for the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, who again urged to Pyongyang to come back to the negotiating table.

On the eve of meeting US President George W. Bush on the 10 of this month, South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun said "he will do his utmost" to find a peaceful solution with the United States to the grave nuclear crisis in North Korea.

In Tokyo, Mr Hosoda said "we are at an important moment and we must start up the six-nation talks again."

"It would seem that North Korea might respond to the demands of the other parties, he added.

He refused to elaborate on the issue but stressed that Pyongyang's tone has been toned down after Mr Bush referred to North Korean dictator as Mr Kim Jong-il last week.

For his part, Roh said on South Korea's Memorial Day that he would do his "best to ease public concerns by resolving the North's nuclear problem peacefully".

Roh's pledge comes at a crucial time of the crisis sparked by Kim Jong-il's nuclear ambitions. It comes when the six-nation talks designed to solve it are still stalled amid worsening tensions following North Korea's February 10 announcement that it possessed nuclear warheads.

The last weeks have seen tensions rise and fall. After a back-channel meeting on May 13 in New York between US and North Korean diplomats about jumpstarting the talks between the six parties (North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia) hopes rose again.

North Korea said that it would give an answer to demands calling for its return to the negotiations "at the right time", but so far, Washington said, there has been "no substantive reply".

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