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North Korea Willing to Rejoin Nuclear Talks - 2005-01-14


North Korea says it has decided to resume six-nation talks on its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency also says the North is ready to treat the United States with respect and friendship -- provided that Washington does not "slander" North Korea's Communist system or interfere in its internal affairs.

Friday's conciliatory message from Pyongyang came just hours after a group of U.S. Congressmen who visited the North Korean capital this week predicted that the lengthy standoff over nuclear-weapons talks would soon be over.

Congressman Curt Weldon, a Republican from the state of Pennsylvania led a bipartisan delegation in talks this week with top North Korean officials including North Korea's number-two leader, Kim Yong Nam, Foreign Minister Paek Nam Sun and Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan.

The United States, the two Koreas, China, Japan and Russia have held three rounds of nuclear talks with no progress. The North refused to take part in a fourth round of talks in September.

Information for this story is provided by AFP and AP.

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