North Korea seeks US talks

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The Independent Online

North Korea has suggested a new dialogue to resolve tensions over its atomic weapons programmes – an apparent invitation to the US to engage in one-on-one talks after Pyongyang bolstered its negotiating power with nuclear and missile tests.

Hours earlier, however, the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pictured, told Pyongyang to stick to six-nation talks that the North has rejected. Mrs Clinton said the multilateral framework was "the appropriate way to engage with North Korea". Yesterday's statement from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry marks a rare expression of willingness to talk by a regime that has escalated tensions with a flurry of provocations in recent months, including a nuclear test and a series of banned missile tests. It also suggests that the communist regime thinks it has raised its stakes enough. "There is a specific and reserved form of dialogue that can address the current situation," the ministry's statement said. The North also made clear again it will not return to six-nation nuclear talks involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the US. It did not elaborate on the new form of dialogue. But Pyongyang has long been known to be seeking direct negotiations with Washington. AP

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