North Korea may resume nuclear talks

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North Korea has said it is ready to return to international talks on ending its nuclear weapons programme if the United States agrees to bilateral discussions first. The offer came during a visit to Pyongyang by the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, whose government pledged to strengthen bonds with North Korea.

"The hostile relations between the DPRK (North Korea) and the United States should be converted into peaceful ties through the bilateral talks without fail," North Korea's KCNA news agency quoted leader Kim Jong-il as saying.

"We expressed our readiness to hold multilateral talks, depending on the outcome of the DPRK-US talks." North Korea walked away from talks with five powers – China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States – on ending its nuclear weapons programme late last year and has repeatedly said the format was dead.