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North Korea Calls for Direct Talks with Washington


North Korea has called for direct talks with the United States before possibly returning to six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

A senior diplomat at North Korea's U.N. delegation in New York Han Sung Ryol told a south Korean newspaper Hankyoreh that if Washington wants to talk to Pyongyang directly, it would be seen as a sign the United States was changing what he called its "hostile policy" toward North Korea.

The interview published Friday took place Thursday. North Korea announced Thursday that it has nuclear weapons, and is abandoning six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and Russia.

U.S. officials say Washington remains committed to a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear issue. However, the United States has rejected past demands for bilateral negotiations with Pyongyang.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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