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North Korea Dismisses Pakistani Nuclear Claims - 2004-02-10


North Korea has dismissed a Pakistani nuclear scientist's admission that he sold nuclear secrets to Pyongyang, calling it "propaganda" spread by the United States.

Pakistani scientist -- Abdul Qadeer Khan -- publicly confessed last week that he helped pass nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Today (Tuesday) North Korea's Foreign Ministry accused the United States of "hyping" the story to make the North's uranium enrichment program "sound plausible."

The statement published by the North's official news agency called the Pakistani scientist's revelation "a sheer lie."

North Korea has only admitted to reprocessing plutonium rods in its nuclear program.

Meanwhile, a top Chinese envoy is to visit South Korea Friday to prepare for a fresh round of six-nation talks in Beijing later this month on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Chinese officials said today (Tuesday) that Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi will spend three days in Seoul, on a visit that will include a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Lee Soo-Hyuck.

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan (Monday) expressed his government's willingness to work for progress at the negotiations -- which will bring together both Koreas, China, Russia, Japan and the United States.

The North Korean official, who is seen as Pyongyang's likely representative at the talks, made the pledge after meeting in Beijing with China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

Information for this report is provided by Reuters.

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